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Coopers Gap Wind Farm set to be Australia’s largest

Queensland continues to grow its large-scale renewable energy industry, adding more megawatts and renewable jobs to the state economy, as Coopers Gap Wind Farm reaches financial close.

Treasurer and Acting Energy Minister Curtis Pitt welcomed AGL Energy’s (AGL) announcement today that the Coopers Gap Wind Farm will proceed to construction having achieved this significant milestone.

Mr Pitt said this a significant announcement and a vote of confidence in Queensland’s energy sector because the 453 megawatt wind farm would be the largest wind farm in Australia once constructed.

“The Coopers Gap Wind Farm, located at Cooranga North in the Darling Downs, is a huge investment of approximately $850 million that will support up to 200 jobs during construction and up to 20 ongoing operational jobs,” Mr Pitt said.

“AGL’s project is further proof Queensland is experiencing a clean energy boom thanks to the Palaszczuk Labor Government getting the policy settings for the renewable energy sector right.

“Renewables are now undeniably the cheapest form of new generation to build, and this project is also proof that costs continue to fall – with AGL confirming a cost of less than $60 per MW/h.

“Once constructed the wind farm will produce approximately 1,510,000 MWh of renewable energy annually, which can power more than 260,000 Australian homes, with the additional supply helping to put downward pressure on wholesale prices.

“I’m pleased to confirm that arrangements for connection of the Coopers Gap Wind Farm to Powerlink Queensland’s electricity transmission network are now in place, with a new substation to be constructed – an example of the key role our Government Owned Corporations play to support this new industry.

“It is expected construction of the Coopers Gap wind farm will begin later this year and be completed by mid-2019 with AGL naming a joint venture consisting of GE and Catcon as the successful tenderer for the engineering procurement contract.”

The Coopers Gap Wind Farm project has been secured by the Powering Australian Renewables Fund (PARAF), a partnership between AGL and QIC.

AGL Managing Director & CEO Andy Vesey said more than 800 MW of projects have now been vended into PARAF, since its inception in July 2016, following the earlier transactions involving the Silverton Wind Farm project and Nyngan and Broken Hill solar plants in New South Wales.

“The strong support we have received from our equity partners and lenders for these projects is testament to the readiness of the private sector to invest in Australia‘s energy transformation,” Mr Vesey said.

“Certainty on energy policy, including the implementation of the recommendations of the Finkel Review, will enable more projects of this kind to go ahead and help place downward pressure on energy prices by increasing supply.”

Mr Pitt said the Palaszczuk Government had kick-started the renewable energy industry in Queensland, with the Powering Queensland Plan and commitment to achieving 50% renewable energy by 2030.

“There are 19 other renewable energy projects financially committed or under construction in Queensland,” he said.

“This pipeline of projects will bring strong benefits to regional Queensland, including $2.6 billion of investment, over 2,500 construction jobs and once operational they will more than double Queensland’s large-scale renewable energy capacity, helping put downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices.

“We are leading the nation in large-scale renewable energy projects under construction or starting in 2017 – we have the most megawatts, most investment and most jobs.

“Our comprehensive $1.16 billion Powering Queensland Plan retains electricity assets in public ownership, promotes Queensland’s sustainable energy mix including coal, gas and renewables, and provides power bill concessions to vulnerable Queenslanders.”

Mr Pitt said in addition to the Coopers Gap Wind Farm project, two solar farms had also reached a major milestone this week.

“Two new major North Queensland solar farms – Edify Energy’s Hayman and Daydream Solar Farm reached financial close and finalised connection arrangements to Powerlink’s transmission network,” he said.

“Daydream and Hayman Solar Farm will be connected to Powerlink’s 275kV network near Collinsville.  The Solar Farms are owned in partnership with BlackRock, with Edify Energy providing construction management and long-term asset management.”

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