Huge 800MW wind farm set for construction, with approval for solar and battery

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Lacour Energy’s secures environmental approval for 800MW Clarke Creek wind project that plans to integrate large-scale solar and storage.

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Nick Ansell/PA Wire
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A Queensland wind energy project that promises to be one of the biggest in the country – and the biggest in that state, at least for a time – is one step closer to being built after clearing its final planning hurdle.

Project developers Lacour Energy said on Monday that the 800MW Clarke Creek Wind Farm had secured environmental approval from the federal government, and was preparing for construction to begin in 2019.

The $1 billion wind project, which will be delivered by Goldwind Australia, will be located around half way between Rockhampton and Mackay, in the Isaac regional council, adjacent to major transmission lines.

The 195 turbine project won state approval in June, and has also secured approval for the addition of 400MW of large-scale solar and a grid-scale battery system, which would boost costs to $1.5 billion.

Director of Lacour Energy, Mark Rayner, said the plan was for the Clarke Creek Integrated Wind, Solar and Battery Power Station to be located at one of the strongest locations of the Queensland power system – with no grid extension required.

Lacour said the wind farm, once complete, would generate enough electricity to power around 590,000 Queensland homes, and supply around 4 per cent of the state’s electricity.

“The project economies of scale drive a competitive cost of electricity, support investment and economic development in regional Queensland and will make a significant contribution to the Queensland Renewable Energy Target.” said Rayner.

The project, with its mix of wind, solar and storage, is also just the sort of project the Australian Energy Market Operator is hoping to see being developed in coal heavy states like Queensland and New South Wales, as the shift to renewables accelerates.

And there are a number of them already in the works.

Windlab in completing the first stage of the Kennedy renewable energy hub in Queensland’s north, that could combine 1200MW of wind and solar plus batteries.

French renewable energy developer Neoen has unveiled plans for another renewable energy hub combining 180MW of wind and battery storage near Cairns, and a 500MW solar and battery storage project in the Western Downs.

And the Kidston solar farm and pumped hydro project, which may also include wind energy, is currently being developed by Genex Power, after winning approval for 250MW of pumped hydro storage in September.

‘The Lacour Energy team have done excellent work identifying and developing this project,” said Goldwind Australia managing director John Titchen.

“Wind conditions have been measured and shown to match very well with Goldwind’s latest advanced wind turbine technology.

“As is expected in this region, the solar resource has also proven to be very high quality,” he said.

Sophie Vorrath

Sophie is editor of OneStepOffTheGrid.com.au and deputy editor of its sister site, RenewEconomy.com.au. Sophie has been writing about clean energy for more than a decade.

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