Latest wind farm approval could trigger a renewable energy surge

The company behind the soon-to-be second largest wind and solar farm in South Australia, DP Energy Australia, expects similar projects to emerge in Queensland.

Final approval has been granted by the South Australian government for DP Energy Australia to build the Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park. The farm will feature 59 wind turbines, each measuring about 130m from blade tip-to-blade tip and be accompanied by 400ha of solar panels.

DP Energy company director Dr David Blake said the farm would provide energy to about 375MW for the equivalent of powering 200,000 homes and save 470,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year.

Mr Blake told ABC News he was looking forward to seeing the construction of the recently approved wind farm at Emerald Creek on the Atherton Tablelands and said it would not be the last wind farm built in Queensland’s north.

He could not reveal the prospective locations of future wind farms and pointed out that windy, coastal areas like the perpetually blustery Archer Point, south of Cooktown, were risky places to build.

“The concern there is cyclones which frighten wind farm developers a little bit. Grind infrastructure is the other thing. One big advantage of Mount Emerald wind farm is it has significant (electricity) grid infrastructure running through the site,” he said.

“But with cyclones, there’s a lot of locations on the coast that have good enough wind resources to run a wind farm but they’re mostly close to high population density areas and hence will be called a non-starter.”

Mr Blake said locations similar to that of Port Augusta, which were in more rural areas, were preferred by developers.