REVEALED: Developers discuss 80-turbine wind farm near Dalby
Renewable energy executives have revealed details about the construction phase of the Wambo wind farm where up to 80 wind turbines are slated to be built 20km northeast of Jandowae.
Cubico Sustainable Investment's David Smith, Renewable Energy Partner (REP)'s Luke McDonald, Western Downs Regional Council mayor Paul McVeigh and other energy representatives held an information night in Jandowae on February 17 to discuss the next steps for the huge energy project.
The 13,000 hectare wind farm was conceived and explored by REP in 2018, and secured a number of landowners to participate in the project in 2019.
Cubico and REP will co-develop the project, with the intent that Cubico would be the long term owner and operator of the wind farm.
The project was approved by the State Government on October 26 2020, allowing up to 110 turbine locations.
Speaking at the meeting, Mr McDonald said they anticipate to build between 80-84 turbines over two stages in an area south of Diamondy, northeast of Jandowae, and west of Cooper's Gap.
"We're currently going through the connection process, so we're currently working with our preferred turbine suppliers … with our preferred option to connect in with the existing connection line," Mr McDonald said.
"In parallel with that we're going through the next round of approvals … and we are working through the Federal Government on the biodiversity conservation act approval as well."
Mr McDonald said they planned to begin stage 1 at the end of 2021, and aiming to complete works in 2023, with an operational period of 30 years.
The construction of stage one of the wind farm is expected to create about 200 jobs, and provide a further 20 jobs during the operational phase.
The renewable energy developers said less than 20,000 hectares of land would be cleared for the wind farm to protect koalas and gliders in the Western Downs.
Mr McDonald said there would be "no issues like Cooper's Gap", referring to the replacement on critical components on nearly half of their major wind farm's generators in 2020.
"They'll be 230m odd in the air at full tip height, so they're very substantial machines, and we hopefully won't have the same issues that Cooper's Gap are having with noise," he said.
"They're having to swap out nearly 50 of 123 generators, which is a very substantial issue for them.
"We're doing a lot more ecological assessments and noise assessments to make sure that even though we've satisfied the state government that we're compliant, that we can also satisfy participating landowners, neighbours and surrounds that will be impacted by the turbines.
"At a state government level, we met with the Minister last week and he was very supportive of getting more wind in this area, so I don't think we'll be the last wind farm developer having these conversations with you over the next few years."
Cubico has a pre-construction community benefit fund of $50,000 to support local projects and initiatives for the communities near the Wambo Wind Farm.