Details of $2b green project still blowing in the wind

The State Government is on board as a supporter but there are a lot of questions about a planned wind farm.

Mar 03, 2020, updated Mar 03, 2020
The State Government will fund a major wind farm project

The State Government will fund a major wind farm project

The company behind the much-hyped 1200 megawatt wind farm south of Maryborough has no contracted buyer for the electricity, no definite size or capacity, no time frame for development, and no financing.

But it has received strong backing from the Queensland Government, which last month gave the scheme development approval on State Forest land in the Toolara, Tuan and Neerdie State Forests, between Gympie and Maryborough in the Wide Bay Region of Queensland.

An election year means that projects that are still well short of development are getting government fanfare. The Saint Elmo vanadium mine in northwest Queensland was also the subject of a government media statement after it was declared a prescribed project.

The wind farm project will have 226 turbines, each standing almost 300m high, which will make it one of the largest grid-connected wind farms in the southern hemisphere, according to the State Government.

The potential capacity is 1200 megawatts, but that size was dependent on funding and demand.

Financing would be a mix of equity and debt.

Up to four battery storage facilities may be included in the project.

The project would be built in stages and there is no detail on the size of this first stage.

A Noosa-based company, Cleansight, and Siemens Project Ventures are partners in the scheme under the name Forest Wind.

Cleansight stakeholder communications manager Jane Daniels said there had been strong community interest in the project with about 200 locals attending a recent meeting.

“Overall, the responses are quite positive,” she said.

Windfarms have faced criticism over their noise as well as the light flicker caused when the sun is at an angle to the turbine.

Daniels said these issues were being dealt with by the 3km buffer zone between the turbines and any residence.

She said while a power purchasing agreement had yet to be signed it was under negotiation.

She said there was no development time frame because it depended on the power purchasing agreement which would also influence the size of stage one.

State Development Minister Cameron Dick said if the project proceeded, it would potentially create about 440 jobs during construction and a further 50 full-time jobs during operation.

“This is a major clean energy project for Queensland and will contribute to our target of 50 per cent renewables by 2030,” Dick said.


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