The MacIntyre Wind Precinct being built by Acciona Energia epitomizes Australia’s revitalized renewable energy industry. Although former Energy Minister Angus Taylor continues to snipe from the sidelines, hoping to delay and obfuscate, a plethora of projects are lining up to increase Australia’s diversity of energy resources. The new federal government is playing its part. Australia has the highest penetration of rooftop solar in the world and plenty of utility-level solar farms, but it lags behind in wind power. Thus, in the evenings, there is a heavy reliance on the burning of fossil gas. In the current international energy environment, this is becoming more and more expensive, spurring the drive for more onshore wind generators.
The MacIntyre Wind Precinct consists of two wind farms. The 18 turbine Karara Wind Farm owned and operated by Queensland State Owned Enterprise CleanCo and the 162 turbine MacIntyre Wind Farm that will be owned and operated by ACCIONA Energía. “The Precinct demonstrates that large scale renewable energy projects can create hundreds of jobs, bring in billions of dollars of new investment and create new economic foundations in regional towns.” Acciona is expected to invest almost 2 billion Australian dollars into the project.
The formal start of construction was commemorated by a sod-turning ceremony that took place at the wind farm’s construction site 60 kilometres west of Warwick in the Southern Downs of Queensland.
The MacIntyre Wind Precinct will create over 450 direct jobs during construction, with an additional 220 jobs supported by Powerlink to build the transmission infrastructure. When in operation in 2024, the Precinct will directly employ 15 staff to maintain the site. Additionally, the Precinct will source $500 million in work from Queensland suppliers, further fueling regional businesses.
“With the capacity to supply the equivalent of nearly 700-thousand homes, this massive MacIntyre project will substantially boost renewable energy supply in Queensland helping our industries, businesses and communities to achieve their sustainability goals,” said CleanCo Chair Jacqui Walters.
“With our equity offtake from MacIntyre we plan to accelerate the decarbonisation of our sister company’s zinc refinery in Townsville as part of their ambition to be one of the first major refineries in the world to produce green zinc,” said Mr Kim, CEO of Ark Energy.
Ark Energy is one of the largest producers of zinc, silver, and lead in the world. For those concerned about the impact of wind farms on the farming land, Acciona has the following to say: “The MacIntyre Wind Farm will be constructed on land predominately used for sheep farming. Current farming practices will continue during the construction and operations phases of the wind farm. The site has been selected due to its exposure to consistent winds across this part of the country and provides a suitable resource for the development of a wind farm.”
Featured image: MacIntyre Wind Precinct. Render courtesy of acciona energia.
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