Queensland green lights new $350 million wind farm

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The Queensland Government has given the green light for a new $350 million wind farm, south-west of Gladstone.

The new wind farm will add to the big surge in wind power by coming on-line in the state and it will produce most of its power overnight from its site on the Banana Range, an area known for its strong overnight winds.

Minister for Planning, Cameron Dick, said the new wind farm will boost the total capacity of wind generation approved by the Queensland Government to 224MW, enough to power over one million homes.

“The government strongly supports investment in regional projects and the Banana Range wind farm, located 20 km west of Biloela, will provide a huge boost for the local economy,” Mr Dick said.

“With up to 150 construction jobs and up to 15 ongoing jobs, the Banana Range Wind Farm will not only generate electricity for homes and businesses but will be an economic energy source for the surrounding region.

“Besides the great environmental benefits for Queensland, investment in projects such as this also creates a flow-on economic effect for local businesses and assists in diversifying the town’s economy.

“The Banana Range wind farm will generate around 180 megawatts at capacity, which will power around 120,000 homes, around five times the number of houses in Gladstone.

“The site will be home to 50 turbines, helping us achieve our renewable energy target.”

Currently, the Coopers Gap wind farm (located between Dalby and Kingaroy) – 453MW is operational but still under construction. When completed next year it will produce power for 264,000 homes.

The Mount Emerald Wind farm, near Mareeba is completed and operational producing power for 75,000 homes.

Other wind farm projects include Kennedy Energy Park near Hughenden – 43MW and Kaban Green Power Hub in the Tablelands with 130MW capacity.

Minister for Energy, Dr Anthony Lynham, said this project added to the state’s numerous renewable projects, placing further downward pressure on electricity prices and taking Queensland closer to its renewables target of 50 per cent by 2030.

“Queensland has more than 2,370MW of large‑scale renewable energy capacity operating already and another 250 committed or under construction. Around 18,000MW more of large-scale renewable capacity is currently at earlier stages of development,” Dr Lynham said.

“Together, these projects represent more than $5 billion in capital investment and more than 4500 constructions jobs in regional Queensland.”

Lacour Energy director, James Townsend, said the wind farm is in an area of excellent wind resources with an existing high voltage 132kV transmission line running through the project site, which will connect the wind farm to the power network.

“The onsite powerline and excellent wind resource mean that the project can supply competitively priced electricity,” Mr Townsend said.

“The area is known for its strong nighttime winds which is when the wind farm will produce the most energy, and this means the project is very complementary to the daytime energy from rooftop solar and the solar farms that have recently been built in Queensland.

“We estimate there will be an injection of $30-40 million into the regional economy during the construction through the employment of local contractors and service providers.

“In addition to the construction of the wind farm, we are also going to provide $100,000 each year to support projects or initiatives in nearby communities through a community benefits fund.”

Construction will begin in 2020 and will take approximately 24 months to complete. The delivery of the Banana Range wind farm will not impact on the lifespan of existing generators.

The project is being undertaken by Orange Creek Energy, a subsidiary renewable energy company of Lacour Energy based in Brisbane.

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