Winds of change for renewable energy future

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has officially opened one of Queensland’s largest wind farms – another major step towards a cleaner, renewable energy future for the state.

Annastacia Palaszczuk was joined by Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham, Member for Cook Cynthia Lui and owner-operators RATCH-Australia and other dignatories at the Mt Emerald Wind Farm around 50 kilometres south west of Cairns.

The Premier said the $400 million project involving 53 massive turbines was part of the renewable energy boom happening in Queensland.

“Queensland has more than 2400 megawatts of large‑scale renewable energy capacity operating already. Almost 900 megawatts more of large-scale renewable capacity is currently financially committed or under construction,” the Premier said.

“Together, these projects represent more than $5 billion in capital investment and more than 4500 constructions jobs in regional Queensland.

“The Mt Emerald Wind Farm will supply 500 million kilowatt hours of renewable electricity every year, which is enough to power 80,000 homes a year, the equivalent to supplying about one third of the Far North’s energy needs.

“Construction has also boosted the local economy with around $66 million of direct investment into the Far North, about 200 positions filled by local workers and 20 businesses in the region winning contracts.”

Dr Lynham said Mount Emerald Queensland was leading the way in transitioning towards a cleaner energy future.

“The Mt Emerald Wind Farm helps to support our energy demands, our renewable future, our economy, the local communities here and the people of Far North Queensland,” Dr Lynham said.

“This is just another step towards meeting the Government’s commitment of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030 and zero net emissions by 2050.”

The wind farm has a long-term contract to supply electricity to Ergon Retail and is connected to the electricity grid via a new substation owned and built by Queensland’s publicly-owned transmission operator, Powerlink.

Anthony Yeates, EGM for Business Development, RATCH-Australia said they were very proud of the spectacular wind farm which completed commissioning over the last year.

“It’s now generating a significant quantity of safe, clean, renewable electricity for North Queensland,” he said.

“It’s a chance for us to say thanks to all the people and companies who have helped us deliver this project, including our development partners, construction contractors, suppliers, and the many others who played a part in delivering the state’s largest renewable energy project.

“We’re thrilled with the way local people have embraced the wind farm and look forward to the project contributing to Queensland’s energy transition for many years to come.”

Member for Cook Cynthia Lui said as well as boosting the local economy during construction and now contributing to the region’s renewable energy needs, it was great to see Ratch-Australia continuing to support the local community.

“RATCH-Australia is donating $200,000 to support local causes every year of the working life of the turbines,” Ms Lui said.

“The Community Benefit Fund, overseen by an independent panel of local residents, is sponsoring local projects improving the quality of life in the communities.”

The list of recipients from the first round of applicants:

  • Atherton Cricket Association
  • Biboohra State School
  • Helpful Hearts community project
  • Kairi State School P&C
  • Malanda Bowls Club
  • Mareeba and District Pony Club
  • Mount Molloy State School
  • Tolga State School P&C, and
  • Walkamin State School.

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