Construction is set to begin next year on the billion-dollar Clarke Creek wind farm, creating 350 jobs, following a sales deal with one of Queensland’s publicly owned generators.
Lacour Energy and Goldwind will build the 450-megawatt Clarke Creek wind farm after sealing an agreement to sell nearly 75 per cent of the energy generated to Stanwell Corporation.
Energy Minister Anthony Lynham said Queensland has an economic strategy for recovery from the global coronavirus pandemic, underpinned by the lowest average electricity prices on the eastern seaboard and reliable supply.
“That plan includes investing in traditional infrastructure and supporting the renewables industry because that supports jobs,” Lynham said.
“The Clarke Creek Wind Farm is a welcome addition to the 39 large scale renewable projects already committed or operational since 2015.”
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“Stanwell and our other two publicly-owned generators, CleanCo and CS Energy, have now supported or own more than 1900 megawatts of renewable energy generation.”
The wind farm is about 150 kilometres north-west of Rockhampton near Marlborough. Construction of the two-stage project is expected to commence in 2021, with energy to flow into the grid from 2023.
Assistant Education Minister and Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga said the jobs and renewable energy would both be welcome in Central Queensland.
“This project means 350 construction jobs once work starts next year, and up to 15 full time operational jobs once Clarke Creek is generating,” she said.
“Our region already has one of the most efficient and economic coal-fired power stations in Australia, at Stanwell, as well as renewable energy projects in the central west.
“With the government’s new renewable energy zone initiative for Central Queensland, Clarke Creek could be the forerunner of more new renewable energy projects and jobs.”
Member for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke said the Clarke Creek project was estimated to generate $130 million in benefits to the local economy over the project lifetime.
“Queensland’s renewable energy revolution has seen 39 projects operational, under construction or financially committed over the past five years, representing 5700 jobs,” he said.
“Renewable energy is the cheapest form of generation, which means that more renewables helps put more downward pressure on electricity prices.
“Projects like Clarke Creek deliver for jobs and for our power bills.”
Goldwind Australia Managing Director John Titchen said Clarke Creek Wind Farm would be one of Queensland’s largest grid-connected wind farms.
“The 450-megawatt first stage of the project will comprise 101 wind turbines; enough to power the equivalent of approximately 320,000 Queensland homes,” he said.
“Stage two will provide a further 400 megawatts.
“The site has predominantly night-time wind which means the wind farm will complement Queensland’s high level of solar production during the day.”
Stanwell CEO Richard Van Breda said the 348 MW offtake agreement with Clarke Creek Wind Farm would help to reduce the carbon intensity of Stanwell’s generation portfolio.
“Our large commercial and industrial customers want ‘greener’ products to complement other sustainability actions that they are taking,” Van Breda said.
“The Clarke Creek Wind Farm offtake agreement will enable us to provide clean, renewable energy to our customers, and also decarbonise our portfolio.”