Western Downs mayor Paul McVeigh, Kyle Daylight from the Barunggam people, Energy Minister Anthony Lynham and South Burnett mayor Keith Campbell joined forces to turn the first sods on the $850 million Coopers Gap Wind Farm

February 7, 2018

After many years of patient planning, construction has officially started on Australia’s largest wind farm.

On Wednesday, Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham joined AGL to turn the first sod on the $850 million Coopers Gap Wind Farm, which will straddle the border of the South Burnett and Western Downs regions.

“This is the second large-scale renewable project in the Western Downs to get underway,” Dr Lynham said.

“Coopers Gap will bring $850 million of investment, 200 construction jobs, and up to 20 ongoing operational jobs to the area.”

Dr Lynham said the Western Downs was quickly becoming Australia’s renewable energy capital, with Coopers Gap and 10 approved solar projects set to generate up to 2000MW of renewable energy.

“Together, they will help power Queensland’s electricity grid and its regional economies, and help us meet our international emissions reduction commitments.

“Combined, these projects represent more than $5 billion of investment, and more than 3000 construction jobs.”

The 453MW Coopers Gap Wind Farm will produce enough renewable energy to power at least 260,000 average Australian homes when it becomes fully operational in mid-2019.

Power from the wind farm’s 123 turbines will also reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than a million tonnes annually, equivalent to taking 340,000 cars off the road.

Work has already started to connect the wind farm to the grid.

Queensland’s high voltage transmission provider Powerlink is building a new 275kV substation at Cooranga North which is expected to be commissioned by the end of this year.

Dr Lynham said ongoing private sector investment was concrete endorsement of Queensland’s renewable energy policy.

“By 2019 – and that’s only a year away – we expect one-fifth of Queensland’s power will be supplied by renewable energy,” he said.

Apart from environmental benefits, Dr Lynham said renewable energy industries could also provide a stable source of income for regional communities.

“Mining and agriculture have peaks and troughs but diversification of energy can stabilise regional economies with reliable jobs and income.”

South Burnett Mayor Keith Campbell, who attended the sod turning ceremony along with Western Downs Mayor Paul McVeigh, said the wind farm was an excellent opportunity for the South Burnett and welcome news for the region’s economy.

All South Burnett councillors attended the launch; afterwards they posed with Minister Lynham at an AGL-sponsored morning tea held at Cooranga North Hall
Cr Terry Fleischfresser congratulated Dr Lynham on fast-tracking the wind farm project through State Government red tape
Celeste Nelson, from the Jandowae Business Group, thanked Dr Lynham for the business boost the project will create
The paddock where the sod-turning took place is typical of the Coopers Gap area; the wind farm’s 123 turbines will be spread across hilltops on 13 properties, with roughly half in the South Burnett and the balance in the Western Downs

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