Wind turbines located along a ridge, similar to the proposed Coopers Gap project (Photo: AGL)

June 9, 2016

The terms of reference for an Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Coopers Gap wind farm are currently being drafted by the office of the Co-ordinator-General.

A statement from AGL Energy released this week said these would be placed on public exhibition in coming weeks.

The public and government agencies would then have an opportunity to comment on and make submissions about what they believe should be considered within the Environmental Impact Statement.

Executive General Manager Group Operations Doug Jackson said this week’s declaration by the State Government that the wind farm was a “coordinated project” was a significant step forward.

“The Coopers Gap Wind Farm remains AGL’s foremost renewable energy project in Queensland with a high quality wind resource and one of the highest average wind speeds in the State,” Mr Jackson said.

“While there is still a long way to go before a final decision can be made on whether the project proceeds to construction, we look forward to working with local government and the community along with other government agencies to deliver the best possible outcome for the region and for Queensland.”

The AGL statement said the wind farm would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 860,000 tonnes a year, which is the equivalent of taking more than 250,000 cars off the road.

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The Coopers Gap project is expected to be financed through AGL’s Powering Australian Renewables Fund, which is currently being established (see video below).

The fund aims to attract institutional investors and build up a reserve of about $3 billion to support 1000MW of mostly renewable energy power generation, including the 350MW from Coopers Gap.

AGL hopes to establish the fund by mid-2016 with projects expected to start during the following 12-24 months.

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Neil Cooke at this year’s Burrandowan Races
At the March 17 Coopers Gap Community Consultative Committee meeting, AGL announced that Neil Cooke will be taking over project management of the Coopers Gap Wind Farm Development.

Mr Cooke, who is Manager of Power Development at AGL, had been working on AGL’s Silverton Wind Farm development in western NSW.

Development approval for this project expired in late May, although AGL is believed to have applied for an extension.

Mr Cooke will now lead Coopers Gap through to the next stage of the project.

He has been with AGL for more than 14 years, spending most of his time focussing on renewable energy.

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The next meeting of the Coopers Gap Community Consultative Committee is due to be held at Bell on June 30.

The meeting will discuss a proposed visit to AGL’s Macarthur wind farm in Victoria later this year by local residents and Council representatives.

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The State Government is currently reviewing submissions made during its second round of public consultations about a draft Queensland Wind Farm State Code.

The consultation period was from October 16 to December 11, 2015.

This followed the initial round of consultations which were held from April 22 to May 13, 2014.

The Draft Code covers items such as TV and communications signal interference, blade shadow flicker, bird and bat flight paths and habitat and visual impact.

It also specifies minimum 1.5km setback from all turbines to all existing adjoining sensitive land use(s).

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