Blown away: Qld’s monster $4b wind farm dwarfs coal; ’20 years ahead of nuclear’

The Macintyre wind farm precinct, near Warwick, will become a major energy hub after Acciona today revealed a $2 billion, 180-turbine wind farm would be built there.

Nov 28, 2022, updated Nov 28, 2022
The Acciona wind farm blades being transported to the Macintyre project

The Acciona wind farm blades being transported to the Macintyre project

The Herries Range wind farm would boost the value of projects at Macintyre to $4 billion, according to the State Government. In June Acciona announced a similar sized project at Macintyre while CleanCo has previously committed to its Karara wind farm.

The precinct would generate about 2 gigawatts of capacity, sufficient to generate enough electricity for 1.4 million homes, making it one of the world’s biggest onshore projects.

It would also dwarf the state’s largest coal fired generator at Tarong which has 1.4Mw of capacity.

But there has been some concern among residents about the visual impact of 360 wind turbines with Acciona’s previously announced Macintyre wind farm about 10km away.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the deal showed Queensland’s capacity to attract investment, but it also contrasts with the waning fortunes of coal after the Land Court last week recommended against Clive Palmer’s $2.6 billion Alpha thermal coal project in the Galilee Basin on environmental and human rights grounds.

The premier said Queensland was now a frontrunner in attracting international investment for the energy transformation, but she also wanted to see the components of the wind farms built in Queensland. They currently come mostly from India and China.

Acciona Australia managing director Brett Wickham said renewables were still the best way forward and the announcement showed Australia could build renewables at scale.

“People have been talking a lot about nuclear. I can build five times the amount of nuclear (energy generation) for same price in about 20 per cent of the time. If you want to build 2000 Mw of nuclear it would take you 20 years and $20 billion,” he said.

“With this project we expect to dramatically accelerate the decarbonisation of Queensland’s electricity grid.

Energy Minister Mick De Brenni said the state now had under construction about two thirds of the wind generation to meet its mid-decade goal of 2980 megawatts.

He said when wind farms like Herries made up the majority of generation capacity Queensland would gain independence from fossil fuel prices.

While Herries Range would support 600 jobs, Acciona said it would develop Macintyre first and then roll the workforce over to Herries.

Treasurer Cameron Dick said there now 50 large-scale renewable energy projects that had been committed to in Queensland.

Renewables lobby group, Solar Citizens said oil, gas and coal prices were pushing up electricity costs.

“The only wholesale electricity price relied we are seeing at the moment is in the middle of the day when Queensland’s 900,000 rooftop solar installations and 30-plus solar plants are generating affordable energy,” Solar Citizens deputy director Stephanie Gray said.

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“Bringing online more wind power will mean we have cheap renewable energy at the other times of the day and importantly mean we’re less exposed to the global fossil fuel market.”





“The deal dom





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