The first sod has been turned at the almost $850 million Coopers Gap Wind Farm in Queensland’s Darling Downs.
The 453 megawatt (MW) Coopers Gap Wind Farm is about 250km west of Brisbane, and will produce approximately 1,510,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of renewable energy annually. This is sufficient to power more than 260,000 average Australian homes when fully operational in mid-2019.
The renewable energy produced from the wind farm’s 123 turbines will also reduce CO2 emissions by 1,180,000 tonnes annually, the equivalent of taking 340,000 cars off the road.
Work has already started to connect the wind farm to the grid. Queensland’s high voltage transmission provider Powerlink is building a new 275kV substation at Cooranga North, with commissioning expected by the end of 2018.
Minister for Energy, Dr Anthony Lynham, said this is the second large-scale renewable project in the Western Downs to get underway.
“Coopers Gap will bring $850 million of investment, 200 construction jobs, and up to 20 ongoing operational jobs to the Western Downs.
“The Western Downs is fast becoming Australia’s renewable energy capital, with Coopers Gap and 10 approved solar projects.
“Together, they represent more than 2000MW of renewable energy that will help power Queensland’s electricity grid and its regional economies, and help us meet our international emissions reduction commitments.
“Combined, these projects would represent more than $5 billion of investment, and more than 3000 construction jobs for the Western Downs.”
The project is also a coordinated project, a special status which allows the state’s independent Coordinator-General to use his powers to cut red tape and help deliver project.
Dr Lynham said ongoing private sector investment, like AGL’s, was concrete endorsement of Queensland’s renewable energy policy.
“Our 50 per cent renewable energy generation target by 2030 has encouraged an unprecedented level of renewable energy investment in 23 large-scale projects that are currently financially committed to or under construction right across the state.
“When complete, these projects will more than double Queensland’s renewable energy output and produce enough electricity to power around 987,000 homes.”