Answer to clean energy is blowing in the wind

Construction has commenced on the largest-ever wind farm to be built in Australia as the federal government announces plans for six wind farms off-shore and launches consultation.

Turns out Bob Dylan may have hit upon the answer to clean energy on-shore and off- decades ago. The Queensland Government has plans to have 50% of its energy needs to come from renewable sources by 2030 so Acciona Energia is building what will be the largest wind farm in this country near Warwick in the state’s south-east, declaring it “the largest project it has undertaken anywhere in the world”.

The company referred to the MacIntyre Wind Farm as its “flagship development for many years to come”. The 162-turbine wind farm will generate 923.4 MW and the project is worth a cool $2 billion. Combined with the 18-turbine Karara Wind Farm, which provides 102.6 MW of energy, the MacIntyre Wind Precinct will provide 1026 MW in total. When complete, in 2024, the precinct will power 700,000 households via clean energy.

More than 450 construction jobs will be created by the MacIntyre Wind Precinct, with an additional 220 jobs to build the transmission infrastructure. When live, it will directly employ 15 staff to maintain the site.

There are more than 40 wind farms operating in Australia, with another seven under construction, including MacIntyre. Its nearest rival in MW is Stockyard Hill Wind Farm in Victoria which generates half the energy the new Queensland farm will, at 530 MW.

The new Albanese federal government is actively behind clean energy, announcing its plans for six off-shore wind farms last week. Energy Minister, Chris Bowen, outlined the project proposals,  including a 200-turbine farm off Victoria’s Gippsland coast in Bass Strait, with possible other locations off Inverloch or Woodside Beach.

There are five other proposals for wind farms off the Hunter and Illawarra coasts in NSW, off-shore near Portland in Victoria, in Bass Strait close to Tasmania, and off the Western Australia coast near Perth and Bunbury. All wind farms would be a minimum of 5.5 km off-shore with some up to 25 km from land.

Minister Bowen said the industry could support 8000 jobs and support Australia’s energy security. A 60-day consultation period for the 200-turbine off-shore Victoria wind farm opened on Friday. Consultation for the other five proposed wind farms is yet to be announced.  

Image: Woolnorth Wind Farm, Tasmania. Source: Andrew Baker

About the author

Desi Corbett

Desi is the Editor of Concrete in Australia and at the helm of our magazine for 8 years. She was behind the Institute's weekly news bulletins from 2016-2021 and is now writing our focused news items. Desi has been an engineering news and features journalist/editor across all disciplines since 2013 - part of a 30-year career writing for a wide range of industries.