Queensland could host Australia’s largest wind farm, in proposed renewables hub

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Australian renewables outfit Lacour wants to build a wind farm of potentially 800MW in Queensland, and at least 200MW of solar.

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Image: Supplied, Lacour

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.”

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14 Comments
  1. George AD 2 years ago

    While Queensland hasn’t saturated its solar market yet, renewable energy resources that operate outside the insolation peak are certainly desirable.

    Let’s hope this project proves feasible.

    • Chris Drongers 2 years ago

      The proposed windfarm and solar are on a substantial range of hills.

      Genix could start planning a pumped hydro storage here (unit LCOE 1/10 that of batteries) staged to utilize the planning/development teams from their Kidston solar/pumped hydro projects moves along.

  2. Ken Dyer 2 years ago

    Queensland’s coal fired power stations are on average 28 years old, with the three biggest and oldest averaging 38 years of age. They are not going to last much longer. The Queensland Government had to spend $48.5 million to refurbish the Callide power station in 2017, so unless renewables form a very big part of Queensland’s power future, we will be seeing many more millions being spent on old worn out coal fired power stations, most of which remain in Queensland Government hands, unlike in other parts of Australia, where privately owned power stations, such as Yallourn in Victoria are having the nuts wrung out of them for profit, for which the public will foot the bill.

    • Roger Brown 2 years ago

      We can be the Windy Sunshine State !

  3. Joe 2 years ago

    Any chance we move this proposal just a little bit, like maybe into The Galilee Basin…plonk the Wind and Solar Farm right on top of Adani’s proposed environmental abomination.

    • john 2 years ago

      Not much wind out there heaps of Solar but and yes they are going to build a solar plant.

  4. Chris Drongers 2 years ago

    Barnaby won’t be happy about this! Eight families, say mum, dad and three married kids each . that is 8 votes not going National Party’s way in the next election. Add a few hundred more workers during the construction phase and One Nation will be unhappy as well.
    Think of all the farmland ruined by building 10m diameter tower bases on rocky ridge tops in a cattle grazing area. Ruinous!
    The smart graziers will build stock water dams below the solar farm, covering 30% of the land with glass panels will increase runoff. A loser all round.

    • Roger Franklin 2 years ago

      Chris
      Totally agree, building a Wind farm on a rocky ridge line is Outrageous, Scandalous and as you say – Ruinous! What next – putting solar panels on top of dams and lakes that reduce evaporation. Honestly – let’s all hope that Tesla Battery Mal and no solar panels Josh – are being worded up as clearly we need to put an end to these frivolous thoughts and activities. Public floggings for all involved…………….

      Note to Premier Palaszczuk – Approve this on the condition that they have to install a bigger battery than Jay’s one in South Australia!

    • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

      Cattle that drink from that solar panel runoff will start glowing in the dark!

      • Hettie 2 years ago

        LOL

    • Catprog 2 years ago

      Especially considering the margin was 1111 votes last time.

  5. john 2 years ago

    800 MW good on them bring it on.
    Actually augmenting it with Solar or Concentrated Solar and Storage should be a looked at.
    For a start it is going to save at least 7% of transmission loss to this point rather a good aspect of this exercise.

  6. Daniel 2 years ago

    Does anyone have any insight into using the new high voltage DC lines to access the interior of Queensland where solar energy is much higher? I noticed the plans to build a large renewable energy hub for Asia in northern WA.

  7. RobSa 2 years ago

    Makes sense. Since the coal mines and coal-fired power stations are going to be closed prematurely smart energy development businesses would build renewables in the same region. The largest in the country might become a minor tourist attraction in a region. The area may need all the destinations it can find if the reef retreats.

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