Wide Bay-Bur­nett wind farm edges closer to ap­proval

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - LAURA BLACK­MORE laura.black­more@news.com.au

ONE of the largest grid-con­nected wind farms in the south­ern hemi­sphere is a step closer for the Wide Bay-Bur­nett re­gion, with the State Gov­ern­ment grant­ing de­vel­op­ment ap­proval for For­est Wind.

Min­is­ter for Plan­ning Cameron Dick said the project, which is pro­posed to com­prise of up to 226 tur­bines, would pro­vide a huge boost for the lo­cal econ­omy.

“If it pro­ceeds, this project could cre­ate around 440 jobs dur­ing con­struc­tion and a fur­ther 50 full-time jobs dur­ing op­er­a­tion,” Mr Dick said.

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

“For­est Wind has the po­ten­tial to gen­er­ate up to 1200 megawatts of elec­tric­ity at ca­pac­ity, which is enough to sup­ply one in four Queens­land homes.

“This is enough power for all homes across the Wide Bay-Bur­nett, Sun­shine Coast and Gold Coast com­bined,” he said.

“The wind farm is pro­posed to be de­vel­oped within state for­est land be­tween Gympie and Mary­bor­ough, a unique lo­ca­tion and a great ex­am­ple of co­ex­is­tence be­tween es­tab­lished south­ern pine tim­ber plan­ta­tions that sup­port our forestry in­dus­try and new large-scale re­new­able en­ergy.”

En­ergy Min­is­ter Dr An­thony Lyn­ham said the project would join Queens­land’s ex­ist­ing 5500 megawatts of re­new­able en­ergy ca­pac­ity.

“Since De­cem­ber 2016, al­most $5 bil­lion has been in­vested in al­most 2500MW of new re­new­able gen­er­a­tion in

Queens­land, cre­at­ing al­most 5000 jobs.

“More gen­er­a­tion helps put down­ward pres­sure on power prices, and give Queens­lan­ders have the low­est elec­tric­ity prices on the eastern se­aboard,” Dr Lyn­ham said.

For­est Wind Hold­ings chair­man James Pen­nay said the project’s lo­ca­tion had been care­fully se­lected to take ad­van­tage of the plan­ta­tion’s large work­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

“We have es­tab­lished a three-kilo­me­tre sep­a­ra­tion dis­tance from res­i­dents to wind tur­bines to en­sure in­dus­try, the lo­cal com­mu­nity and the en­vi­ron­ment can co­ex­ist har­mo­niously,” Mr Pen­nay said.

“We have been un­der­tak­ing con­sul­ta­tion with the lo­cal com­mu­nity and stake­hold­ers.

“We are look­ing for­ward to con­tin­u­ing that en­gage­ment through the next phase of the project’s de­vel­op­ment, in­clud­ing with the Butchulla and Kabi Kabi first na­tion peo­ples,” he said.

The wind farm, which is val­ued at around $2 bil­lion, could in­crease Queens­land’s in­stalled power gen­er­a­tion ca­pac­ity by ap­prox­i­mately nine per cent.

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