The Coopers Gap wind farm would be operational by 2020 with 20 full time workers.
The Coopers Gap wind farm would be operational by 2020 with 20 full time workers. Ingram Publishing

EIS approved for Coopers Gap wind farm

CONSTRUCTION on a Coopers Gap wind farm could start later this year after the Environmental Impact Statement was approved by the Coordinator-General yesterday.

Minster for State Development, Natural Resources and Mines Anthony Lynham announced the approval in Parliament.

"When completed this will be Queensland's biggest wind farm and contribute up to $4million each year to the local economy - a big win for the Wide Bay Burnett and Darling Downs regions,” Dr Lynham said.

"Most importantly, the project's proponent AGL Energy Limited has advised they will employ local people and local contractors wherever possible.”

Dr Lynham said, depending on the timing of the project approvals, construction could start later this year.

The project will create 350 construction jobs and 20 permanent jobs once operation starts in 2020.

"The Coordinator-General has placed conditions on his approval, including on noise, shadow flicker, electromagnetic interference and impacts on flora and fauna,” Dr Lynham said.

The wind farm could generate up to 460 megawatts of electricity and supply power to more than 240,000 households.

It is estimated that around onemillion tonnes per year of greenhouse gas emissions would be avoided through supply of the wind farm's green power to the grid.

That's the equivalent of taking about 320,000 petrol-driven cars off the road each year, Dr Lynham said.

AGL proposes to construct and operate up to 115 wind turbines and has secured agreements with landowners who would have wind turbines on their properties.

South Burnett Mayor Keith Campbell said the wind farm was an excellent opportunity for the region.

"It is welcome news for the economy of the area and fulfils the push this council is making for the introduction of new business for the region,” Cr Campbell said.

"There is the opportunity for flow on business during the construction phase that I trust our local enterprises will grasp and benefit from.

"Congratulations are to go to AGL and the assessment process as it was done fairly, giving opportunity for both sides of the argument to be heard.”

AGL managing director and CEO Andy Vesey said this was an important step in the progression of a significant renewable energy project for Queensland.

"Coopers Gap Wind Farm would be the largest wind farm in Queensland and will provide economic as well as environmental benefits for the local region and the state. We are looking forward to continuing the project's development, and to working with the local community,” Mr Vesey said.

"The Coordinator-General's report, which includes approval of the EIS, will now be used by the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning in its assessment of a Development Application for the project.”

AGL hopes the wind farm will be the next greenfield renewable development offered to the Powering Australian Renewables Fund.

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