The first shipment of project freight for Ratch Australia Corporation’s Mount Emerald Wind Farm has arrived in Cairns today.
Treasurer Curtis Pitt said the vessel Oldendorff Erna arrived at the Port carrying tower sections for the exciting Tablelands project.
“There will be back-to-back shipments of tower sections and blades being shipped directly into the Port of Cairns,” Mr Pitt said.
“They are the first wind farm components and will be followed by many more elements with an estimated 185,000 revenue tonnes of cargo to be delivered over the life of the project.
“The second shipment of blades is scheduled to arrive on September 27.
“With the potential for further wind farm projects on the Atherton Tablelands and near Lakelands, these first shipments will establish the Port of Cairns as the new project hub for the North.
“The project will see the creation of around 150 jobs during the construction phase and represents a significant boost to our local economy, especially for the contractors, suppliers, transport and logistics companies involved.
“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to ensuring the Port of Cairns continues to develop to facilitate projects such as Mount Emerald Wind Farm, which bring jobs and economic growth to the Far North Queensland Region.”
Unloading and transporting the blades will be an impressive sight as each blade has a length of 57 metres and weighs 16 tonnes each.
The unloading or the cargo is expected to take three days with the blades being transported directly from the wharf to the newly constructed project cargo laydown area in Tingira Street Portsmith.
Ports North chair Russell Beer said the four-hectare Tingira Street site had been purpose-built by Ports North to accommodate the wind farm components in Cairns before being transported by road to the windfarm site on the Atherton Tablelands.
“Ports North has been actively working to increase project freight opportunitiesthrough the port and the shipping of the Mount Emerald Wind Farm project cargo confirms the capabilities of Cairns as a project shipping port,” Mr Beer said.
Powerlink has already commenced construction works to connect the 180 megawatt (MW) Mt Emerald Wind Farm near Mareeba in Far North Queensland to its transmission network.
As part of the construction works, Powerlink will build a dedicated 275kV substation to connect the wind farm to the network.
Powerlink Chief Executive Merryn York said the Mt Emerald Wind Farm would connect to the existing transmission network via the Woree to Chalumbin transmission line.
“This project is another example of the important role the transmission network will play in facilitating large-scale renewable generation and achieving a lower carbon future for Queensland,” Ms York said.
“We look forward to delivering the Mt Emerald Wind Farm connection for Ratch and continuing to partner with other renewable energy customers across Queensland.”
Ratch spokesperson Neil Weston said it was great to have Powerlink mobilised on site now that all the detailed design and grid connection analysis had been completed.
“The grid connection is a critical part of the overall project, and we look forward to working with them to get the project finished and energised in 2018,” he said.
Mr Pitt said the Palaszczuk Government had kick-started a renewable energy boom in Queensland.
“Mt Emerald Wind Farm is one of 20 renewable projects totaling 1,800 megawatts committed to or under construction in Queensland, delivering $3.4 billion of investment and over 2,800 direct construction jobs, mostly in regional Queensland,” Mr Pitt said.
“This is compared to the renewable energy blackout we saw under the LNP, not one large-scale renewable project was commissioned during their term and 1,300 renewable industry jobs were lost
“Now Tim Nicholl’s only energy policy is to build an expensive, unnecessary coal fired power station.
“Renewable energy now the cheapest and quickest way to deliver new generation, which is why we’re focusing on securing the next wave of large-scale renewable energy projects in Queensland through Renewables 400, our 400 megawatt (MW) reverse auction.”