The Queensland Government has welcomed the offer of a power purchase agreement (PPA) to progress a 170 megawatt (MW) wind farm in the far north.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Ergon Energy has offered the PPA to Mount Emerald Wind Farm, which is a joint venture between Ratch Australia and Port Bajool.
“At the last election, I committed this Government to embrace new industries, including bio-fuels and large-scale renewable energy, to generate more jobs and attract more investment,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
The Premier said the Government, at the last election, committed to a public inquiry into establishing Queensland’s 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030.
“Under this Government’s commitment to renewable energy, the government-owned Ergon Energy undertook an expression of interest for up to 150MW of renewable energy last year,” the Premier said.
“This EOI sought new renewable energy projects that could help Ergon discharge its obligations under the national Renewable Energy Target in Queensland.
“The opportunity was to support new renewable energy projects in Queensland that can generate renewable energy as well as jobs locally.
“If executed, the offer of a PPA to Mount Emerald Wind Farm would secure 170MW of renewable energy for Queensland – 20MW more than the EOI had sought.”
Treasurer Curtis Pitt said this was a great way of diversifying the Tablelands’ economy.
“In terms of investment and economic activity, the projections are for more $400 million in total expenditure in the region over the two-year construction and 25-year life of the project,” Mr Pitt said.
“When you take into account all the indirect flow-on benefits over the same period this project is worth more than $900 million to the Far North.
“At the election the Palaszczuk Government promised to be committed to innovation and work to deliver the jobs, opportunities and industries of the future – which is exactly what this project does.”
Minister for Energy, Biofuels and Water Supply Mark Bailey said this was a major step forward for Queensland.
“The project would mean wind energy in Queensland would increase by 15 times, with only 12MW of installed wind energy in our state,” Mr Bailey said.
“To put this project into further perspective, the electricity it could generate could power a city of the size of Mackay.
“Far North Queenslanders have longed for their own power station for a long time and now there is one in the pipeline under the Palaszczuk Government, which will deliver 100% carbon neutral clean power using the latest technology.
“I want to thank the people involved in this project at Ergon Energy, Ratch Australia and Port Bajool for the work they have undertaken and we look forward to working with them moving forward.”
The proponent of Mount Emerald Wind Farm has advised that during the construction phase employment will peak at more than 150 jobs.
In terms of investment and economic activity, the projections are for more $400 million in total expenditure in the region over the two-year construction and 25-year life of the project; with more than $900 million when all indirect flow-on impacts are taken into account over the same period.