Queensland’s biggest wind farm approved, may add solar and storage

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Queensland government gives development approval to 800MW wind farm – the state’s largest – that could be built with 400MW solar farm and battery storage.

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The federal renewable energy target may well be considered met by analysts and regulators, but the number of huge wind and solar projects in the development pipeline continues to rapidly expand.

The latest is the 800MW Clarke Creek wind farm in central Queensland, which has received development approval from the state government, and could be built alongside a 400MW solar farm that has also received planning approval, and battery storage.

The $1 billion project (that’s for the wind component) is located around half way between Rockhampton and Mackey, in the Isaac regional council, and is adjacent to major transmission lines.

Mark Rayner, the director of developer Lacour Energy, says there is still strong demand for renewable energy in a number of regions, from retailers and other coporate buyers.

The Queensland market is also being underpinned by the government’s stated target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030, although it has yet to outline exactly what mechanisms, if any, it will use to reach the target.

Rayner says Lacour is conducting a feasibility study that will be complete by the end of the year, and construction could begin early in 2019. The entire project could account for around 3 per cent of the state’s total electricity demand.

Clarke Creek is just one of a number of major projects that propose to marry wind, solar and storage.

Windlab is building the first stage of the Kennedy renewable energy hub, 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, of course, there is the Kidston solar farm and pumped hydro project, which may also include wind energy, that is being developed by Genex Power, with an announcement on financing and contracts soon.

(Listen to our latest Energy Insiders podcast with Genex director Simon Kidston here).

“The Clarke Creek Wind and Solar Farm development is a unique renewable energy project which combines excellent wind and solar resources at a location directly adjacent to the backbone of the Powerlink 275 kV transmission network,” Rayner says.

” The wind farm development approval is a significant milestone for the project and we look forward to completing the feasibility study by the end of the year so that construction can begin in early 2019.”

The wind farm will consist of up to 195 wind turbines with a total wind farm capacity over 800 MW, while the solar farm – which was approved by the council earlier this year – could range in size from 200MW to 400MW.

The project website says the project extends across the land of eight local families, with the wind turbines located on the mountain range and the solar farm on the lower ground near the Marlborough-Sarina Road.

The project is in an area of high wind and solar resources and close to an existing main road from Marlborough to Sarina,” it says,

The company  is urging companies and individuals – particularly those based in central Queensland – who want to be involved in the construction of this exciting project to register their interest on the project’s website.

It estimates the project will inject $50-$100 million into the local economy during the construction through the employment of local contractors and service providers, with $200,000 set aside each year in a “community benefits” package.

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