Australia’s largest wind farm is set to begin construction after Queensland Energy Minister Anthony Lynham officially turned the first sod on the Powering Australian Renewables Fund’s (PARF) $850 million Coopers Gap Wind Farm project.
The construction firm CATCON will be responsible for the wind farm’s construction at Cooranga North, 250km north-west of Brisbane, while GE will supply and install its 123 wind turbines.
The 453 MW wind farm will produce about 1,510,000 MWh of renewable electricity annually – enough to power the equivalent of more than 260,000 average Australian homes and reduce CO2 emissions by 1,180,000 tonnes each year.
PARF is a partnership between AGL Energy (20 percent) and Queensland Investment Corporation (80 percent) on behalf of clients the Future Fund and the QIC Global Infrastructure Fund.
AGL general manager power development Dave Johnson said up to 200 jobs would be created during the peak of construction of the project.
“The wind farm will employ up to 20 people once operational which means it will continue to deliver ongoing employment benefits in the local community after the construction phase,” he said.
CATCON chief executive officer Steve Moreau said the sod turning marked the commencement of major construction activities on a significant renewable energy project.
“Our team have worked tirelessly over the last six months in the planning and preparation for the major works to commence as scheduled, and we look forward to working with the local community and our consortium partner GE to collectively deliver a first-rate renewable energy project for our client, AGL,” he said.
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 commissioned expected by the end of this year.
Dr Lynham said ongoing private sector investment, like AGL’s, was concrete endorsement of Queensland’s renewable energy policy.