AGL has held a media and political event at its partially complete Cooper’s Gap wind farm in Queensland, which is already the largest operating wind farm in the state, and will, at least for a while, be the biggest in Australia once complete at the end of this financial year.
The wind farm, located between Dalby and Kingaroy in the Darling Downs region to the north-west of Brisbane, began generating in June, and currently has 50 turbines erected, nearly one half of the 123 turbines planned for the 453MW facility.
The event was attended by state resources and energy minister Anthony Lynham – who described the state as the “biggest fan” of renewables in Australia – and media, and was hosted by AGL’s head of development and construction Dave Johnson.
“This is a significant milestone which is a credit to the hard work of everyone involved in this $850 million project,” Johnson said. The project is actually owned by the Powering Australian Renewables Fund (PARF), a joint venture created by AGL to house and help finance its renewable energy projects. The construction consortium was led by GE – Catcon.
“The assistance of the Australian Energy Market Operator and Powerlink Queensland was particularly valuable in completing the connection of the wind farm to the grid,” Johnson said.
Lynham noted that Queensland has more than 2,400MW of large‑scale renewable energy capacity operating already and another 900MW more of large-scale renewable capacity that is financially committed or under construction.
“Solar is already massive in Queensland and wind is on the rise, with two operating wind farms at Windy Hill and Mt Emerald, two under construction including here at Coopers Gap and we’ve just announced that five wind farms have been shortlisted for the final stage of the government’s Renewables 400 program,” Lynham said in a statement.
“We’re well on track to reach our target of 50 percent renewable energy by 2030.”
AGL should have little problem with its Cooper’s Gap wind farm, given its placement in the grid. But it has had major issues with the Silverton wind farm near Broken Hill in western NSW, which has been severely constrained by the lack of network strength in the area.
Johnson said the $850 million Cooper’s Gap project created up to 200 jobs created at the peak of construction, with a significant amount of money spent with local businesses and contractors, and would provide up to 20 jobs once operational.