August 18, 2020 Read More →

Massive 1,200MW wind farm in Queensland, Australia moves a step closer to construction

Renew Economy:

Plans to build one of the largest onshore wind farms in the Southern Hemisphere on government-owned forestry land in Queensland’s Wide Bay-Burnett region have gained new momentum, with legislation to fast-track the project passing through state parliament late last week.

The massive 1200MW Forest Wind project, a joint venture between global engineering giant Siemens and Queensland renewables outfit Clean Sight, was granted state government approval in February. The project proposes to install up to 226 turbines in state forest used as pine plantations between the towns of Gympie and Maryborough, in a similar approach to that proposed by French renewable energy developer Neoen, which is looking at a 900MW wind project and battery hub in western Victoria.

State Development Minister Kate Jones said last Thursday that the Forest Wind Farm Development Bill 2020, tabled in May, had been voted through state parliament, marking a new milestone for the project. The bill is designed to cut red tape for the project to operate on actively managed exotic pine plantation license areas in the Toolara, Tuan and Neerdie State forests.

According to the developers, the site was selected to capture the south-easterly wind blowing in from the Pacific Ocean onto the Queensland coast, as well as to mitigate potential community impacts on landscape, ecology and acoustic amenity – current plans put a distance of at least 3km between turbines and residents.

Forest Wind would also be well-positioned on the network, the developers say, connecting directly into the southeast Queensland grid and feeding into one of Australia’s largest and fastest-growing electricity demand centres.

“The legislation passed today is absolutely vital to ensure this project can proceed to the next stage,” Jones said on Thursday. “Forest Wind could be a game-changer for our state Queensland. It has the potential to generate up to 1,200 megawatts of electricity, enough to supply one in four homes in our state and move us closer to our target of 50 per cent renewables by 2030. If it goes ahead, this project will be one of the largest grid-connected wind farms anywhere in the Southern Hemisphere,” she said.

[Sophie Vorrath]

More: Massive 1200MW Forest Wind project gets “vital” boost from state legislation

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