WHAT’S NEXT? $850m wind farm nears completion
COOPERS Gap wind farm has caused much talk among South Burnett residents.
And it is no surprise, considering once it is complete, it will become the largest wind farm in the country.
81 of the 123 turbines are all ready constructed and 45 of them are providing energy to the grid.
So when can we expect the wind farm to be producing energy at full capacity?
What was the total cost of the project?
And what does that mean for the region?
What happens to the wildlife in the area?
How many regular jobs will the wind farm create after construction is complete?
We speak with AGL general manager for developmentand construction Dave Johnson to answer these questions and more.
Mr Johnson was confident all the turbines would be complete and producing energy within the next two months.
"The Coopers Gap Wind Farm remains on track to be completed this financial year," he said.
"The last turbine components are expected to be delivered next month."
At full capacity, the $850 million project will generate approximately 4137 megawatt hours (MWh) of renewable energy each day.
Which is enough to power 264,000 average Australian homes, or nearly two million homes each week.
The large project, owned by the Powering Australian Renewables Fund (PARF) has provided significant jobs in the region.
"At the peak of construction, the project is creating up to 250 jobs with a significant amount of money spent with local businesses and contractors," Mr Johnson said.
"There will be 20 ongoing jobs once the wind farm is operational."
One of the more contentious issues involving the new wind farm is the potential dangers to local wildlife.
Mr Johnson said, "consistent with its environmental approvals, the project conducts a monitoring program to determine the impact of the wind farm on birds and bats".
"If threatened species are found, this is reported to the Queensland Department of Environment and Science," he said.
Having what is soon to be the largest wind farm in the country in our region is another feather in South Burnett's cap.
Hopefully, a project of this capacity and total cost constructed in our backyard, is the sign of bigger things to come.