Queensland goes bananas for wind energy

wind, Cleanco

A new $350 million wind farm south-west of Gladstone has been given the go-ahead by the Queensland Government.

The 50-turbine wind farm on the Banana Range is being undertaken by Orange Creek Energy Pty Ltd, a subsidiary renewable energy company of Lacour Energy based in Brisbane.

The Banana Range Wind Farm will generate around 180 megawatts at capacity – mostly overnight – which is enough to power around 120,000 homes. To put that into perspective, that’s around five times the number of homes in Gladstone.

Queensland Minister for Planning Cameron Dick said the new wind farm will boost the total capacity of wind generation approved by the Queensland Government to 2240 megawatts, enough to power over one million homes.

When the Coopers Gap wind farm (located between Dalby and Kingaroy) is complete next year it will produce power for 264,000 homes.

The Mount Emerald Wind farm, near Mareeba is completed and operational producing power for 75,000 homes.

Other wind farm projects include Kennedy Energy Park near Hughenden (43 megawatts) and Kaban Green Power Hub in the Tablelands with 130M megawatts capacity.

Lacour Energy director James Townsend said the Banana Range Wind Farm is in an area of excellent wind resources with an existing high voltage 132-kilovolt transmission line running through the project site, which will connect the wind farm to the power network.

“The onsite powerline and excellent wind resource mean that the project can supply competitively priced electricity,” Mr Townsend said.

“The area is known for its strong nighttime winds, which is when the wind farm will produce the most energy, and this means the project is very complementary to the daytime energy from rooftop solar and the solar farms that have recently been built in Queensland.

“We estimate there will be an injection of $30-40 million into the regional economy during the construction through the employment of local contractors and service providers.

“In addition to the construction of the wind farm, we are also going to provide $100,000 each year to support projects or initiatives in nearby communities through a community benefits fund.”

Construction will begin in 2020 and will take approximately 24 months to complete. The delivery of the Banana Range wind farm will not impact on the lifespan of existing generators.