A proposed large-scale wind farm project in the Wide Bay region, valued at up to $2 billion, is moving forward thanks to facilitation support provided by the Palaszczuk Government.
Minister for State Development Cameron Dick said the Forest Wind project could create around 440 construction jobs and boost renewables supply for Queensland’s future energy needs.
“This would be one the largest grid-connected wind farms in the southern hemisphere,” Mr Dick said.
“The wind farm would generate approximately 1200 megawatts at capacity, which will power more than 550,000 homes.
“This is enough power for all homes across the Wide Bay-Burnett, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast combined, or the entire Brisbane City Council area.
“This could increase Queensland’s installed power generation capacity by approximately nine per cent.
“The project is being advanced as an exclusive transaction as part of the Queensland Government’s investment facilitation services.
“It will now move into the detailed assessment stage, which will also include the assessment of its development application.”
Mr Dick said the proposed wind farm would be located within state forest land between Gympie and Maryborough.
“It would co-exist with established southern pine timber plantations that support our forestry industry,” he said.
Forest Wind Holdings, a joint venture between Queensland-based renewables firm CleanSight and Siemens Financial Services, has proposed to locate up to 226 wind turbines across the sites.
The plantations are owned and managed by HQPlantations on land under licence from the state.
The project has the potential to generate 1200 megawatts of renewable energy.
Together with other wind energy projects in the state, this would represent 12 per cent of Queensland’s installed generation capacity.
Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders said the Palaszczuk Labor Government would continue bringing investment and jobs to the region.
“This is yet another massive project with the potential to create work for hundreds of Wide Bay families,” Mr Saunders said.
“We’ve got the workforce and skills here locally, and we’re ready to build the big projects that will transform Queensland’s future.
“Locating the wind farm on plantation licence areas would be a first for Queensland.
“It’s a great example of private enterprise thinking outside the box to help boost renewable energy generation in our state.”
Forest Wind Holdings has confirmed that subject to receiving all relevant approvals, construction of the wind farm could commence as early as fourth-quarter 2020.
Minister for Natural Resources and Energy Dr Anthony Lynham said the Palaszczuk Government was pushing ahead to transform the state’s energy network and achieve 50 per cent renewables by 2030.
“While there is still much work to be done before Forest Wind becomes a reality, our government recognises the significance of this project,” Dr Lynham said.
“We’ll keep working with Forest Wind Holdings and key stakeholders to facilitate the long-term access and operation of the wind farm, and to maximise the value of this land.”
Over the coming months, Forest Wind will negotiate land use and cultural heritage with the Native Title parties, the Butchulla and Kabi Kabi First Nations people, and consult with local communities and businesses.
Forest Wind Holdings Chairman James Pennay said in addition to the hundreds of construction jobs, the project could support up to 50 operational roles in the long-term.
“The project could also produce enough clean energy to supply up to one-in-four Queensland homes,” Mr Pennay said.
Siemens Australia CEO and Chairman Jeff Connolly said this investment into the state’s energy future adds to Siemens prior equity stake in the successful consortium for the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
“Through our financing arm, Siemens Financial Services (SFS), we are excited to invest in one of the world’s largest onshore wind farms in Queensland, helping Australia secure its energy future,” Mr Connolly said.
“Siemens has a long and proud history in Queensland and Australia dating back almost 150 years.
“The company has provided critical leading technology supporting infrastructure and industry – ranging from energy to water, transport, agribusiness, manufacturing, mining and resources, healthcare and even sugar and beer.
“This new partnership and joint venture is a natural extension of our relationship.”
HQPlantations CEO Jeremy Callachor said he was excited about the possibility of supporting the Queensland Government’s long-term renewable energy targets in a material way.
“We will work closely with Forest Wind Holdings to leverage complementary opportunities for improvements in fire protection and road access in the estate, and to ensure there is minimal impact on timber production,” Mr Callachor said.
Mr Dick said the project had been advanced by the Queensland Government’s Investment Facilitation and Partnerships Group within the Department of State Development.
“This group aims to provide a clear entry point for major investment projects and a customised and streamlined pathway to decision-makers across government,” he said.
Learn more about major investment facilitation in Queensland.
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