I am relatively new to Queensland, but I am married to a central Queenslander who has shown me areas of this state that many may not have seen. Some places stark and featureless and others full of surprising quirks and charms.
In 2015, during our nomadic adventure, we took a trip to Warwick. My husband had spent some of his childhood there. We visited in winter, and it was around the time when it started snowing in Stanthorpe and the whole of Southern Queensland decided that this must be witnessed. We were single minded however, and drove over the range, our attention focused on Warwick.
Warwick was lovely. We walked the town and found the house where he spent some happy years of his early childhood. We saw Thomas Byrnes rugged up, watching over the town, while they were clearly watching out for him.
And so how does this all link to an enormous wind farm. Well the MacIntyre Wind Farm will be built about 50km South West of Warwick. ACCIONA Australia has their eyes on a total precinct wind development of over 1GW.
CleanCo has partnered with ACCIONA for 500MW of this wind farm. CleanCo will build, own and operate a facility of 18 turbines, totalling nearly 103MW, and will then invest in a further 400MW through power purchase agreements.
ACCIONA’s plans for the region include a further ~500MW of capacity. The entire MacIntyre Wind Farm Precinct is proposed to include 180 wind turbines across 36,000 hectares of leased land. I won’t regurgitate the information that can very easily be found on the ACCIONA or CleanCo websites. Well not all of it.
My takeaway is this: the turbines are BIG – 5.7MW each and they will be distributed over a vast stretch of land. ACCIONA expects to create around 400 jobs over the construction phase. The wind farm will change the landscape and impact the local economy. Money for farmers, employment in the community. Construction works naturally result in an influx of project stakeholders. People and business offering accommodation in the region, who have no doubt been hit by the COVID shutdowns may see some reprieve. And on the flip side, maybe an increase in COVID cases for the region. It remains to be seen.
And more people will be driving the route we took over the range. Not for a sleepy meander, but to deliver enormous turbine blades. Maybe some of them will also stop on the top of the range and take a walk. Look at the view.
ACCIONA has created a video explaining a bit more about the overall precinct plans.