Amid the raft of solar farms being proposed for development in Queensland, plans for what would easily be the Sunshine State’s largest wind farm, and potentially the largest in Australia, have made their way to the state government planning department.
Australian renewable energy company Lacour said this week it had lodged a state development application for the $800 million project in November last year, proposing a wind farm of up to 195 turbines, and potentially around 800MW in installed capacity, in Queensland’s Isaac Region.
The company, which has offices in Perth and Brisbane, is also proposing to co-locate at least 200MW of solar PV alongside the wind farm, and potentially a battery storage system.
According to the project website, the wind and solar farm are currently in the feasibility phase, with work being undertaken on the technical, environmental, social and economic aspects of the project.
“If the feasibility demonstrates a viable project then it is intended that construction would commence in 2019,” the company says.
As proposed, the wind farm would extend across the land of eight local families, with the turbines located on a mountain range located roughly half-way between Rockhampton and Mackay.
The solar solar farm would be installed on the lower ground, near the Marlborough-Sarina Road.
Project leader Mark Rayner, who got his start in renewables 20 years ago with HydroTasmania, said the site had been chosen for its high wind and solar resources, and location next to the existing high voltage electricity transmission “backbone” of the local network.
“The wind and solar farms would be co-located, but they are separate projects,” Rayner told RenewEconomy.
And given the huge amount of activity in large-scale solar in the state, and the contrasting lack of wind energy development, the wind farm could be the most likely to get approval, at this stage.
Like other resources around the country, the wind at the Clarke Creek site blows predominantly over night, says Rayner, so is a good match for the Queensland’s increasingly solar-heavy grid.
If the project gets the nod, it is expected to employ 350 people for the construction phase. Lacour says that, as of late 2017, the project has already engaged over 20 different companies during the feasibility stage.
“Lacour expect that people and companies from the towns around Clarke Creek between Rockhampton and Mackay will be able to provide a significant amount of the total workforce and services on the project,” the website says.
“(We) want to encourage local people and businesses to be involved in the construction and operation of this project.”