A Powerlink electricity substation being built on Niagara Road at Boyneside should be handling the output of the Coopers Gap Wind Farm within a year.
Progress on the wind farm was discussed at AGL’s quarterly Community Consultative Committee meeting at Cooranga North Hall last Thursday afternoon.
AGL Coopers Gap Construction Manager Tim Knill told the meeting work on building a base for the substation is now complete, and the site has been handed over to Powerlink’s contractors UGL.
Right now, most work on the wind farm was focussed on civil and electrical design, along with preparing pre-construction documents for permits to erect the wind farm’s turbines.
AGL’s contractors are expanding a 10-year-old network of four meteorological masts to 14 masts so wind conditions in the area can be assessed in depth.
Transport planning work was also being carried out to find the best ways to shift the wind farm’s giant components from the Port of Brisbane to the site.
The first turbines are already being shipped to Australia, and are expected to arrive in May.
At the moment, Mr Knill said, there were two possible routes but the most likely one appeared to be via Dalby.
However, some components will use the southern end of Niagara Road to get to their destinations, and others the northern end.
This will require upgrades to a number of intersections, and parts of Niagara Road will need to be widened as well.
Mr Knill said contractors will begin clearing and grubbing works in early March and once this is done, work will start on hardstands for an on-site project headquarters.
The road upgrades will follow this, then pouring concrete bases for the turbines so the first ones can be erected in June.
Mr Knill said AGL is attempting to use local labour and materials wherever possible.
Workers from Kingaroy were already on site, and the company has already spent more than $1 million with local contractors.
AGL are close to engaging an independent consulting firm to assess the economic impacts of the project on the South Burnett and Western Downs in terms of jobs and local spending, and their findings will be released in the future.
Installation of free solar power systems on properties that adjoin the wind farm is also proceeding, and about 20 remain to be done.
Meanwhile, AGL is in discussion with Telstra and other telecommunications companies to see what can be done to improve mobile phone reception in the area, and hope to see a solution by mid-year.
The next Community Consultative Committee meeting will be held at 1:00pm on Thursday, May 31 at Cooranga North Hall.