Construction has begun on the $3 billion Clarke Creek renewable energy precinct in Central Queensland, which will deliver crucial energy capacity.
Stage One of the wind, solar and battery farm, located 150 kilometres north-west of Rockhampton and 150 kilometres south of Mackay, is now under construction and will deliver 100 wind turbines that will produce around 450MW of green energy by 2025, of which 346.5MW will supply the Stanwell Corporation under a Power Purchase Agreement.
Upon completion of both stages 1 and 2, the Clarke Creek Wind, Solar and Battery Farm will deliver enough energy to power 660,000 homes, equivalent to 40 per cent of Queensland households, with 2.7 million tonnes of carbon to be displaced each year.
Squadron Energy, part of Andrew and Nicola Forrest’s private investment company Tattarang Group, will build the project on 76,300 hectares across eight private landholdings. It is the largest renewable energy project under construction in Australia.
Current forecasts from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) show a nine-fold increase in wind and solar capacity is needed by 2050 to meet the nation’s net-zero emissions targets.
Tattarang Chairman Dr Andrew Forrest AO said the Clarke Creek wind farm will be crucial in delivering on that demand.
“When fully operational, Clarke Creek will displace enormous amounts of carbon each year by harnessing the renewable energy of the wind and sun to power our homes and commercial premises, providing cheaper energy without the hidden costs associated with coal-fired power stations,” Dr Forrest said.
AEMO said just last week that with 60 per cent of current coal generation exiting by 2030, Australia must accelerate a move away from coal to renewables to escape the ongoing threat of blackouts and high-power prices.
Squadron Energy Chairman John Hartman said the Clarke Creek project has an excellent combination of strong and predominantly night-time wind energy generation to complement Queensland solar production.
“There is currently a large supply gap in wind generation in order to meet 2030 projections due to the electrification of industry and transport, and we believe large energy hubs like Clarke Creek, which leverage multiple technologies and storage to deliver firmed power, are a crucial solution,” Mr Hartman said.
A significant amount of technical and environmental assessment work was completed by independent specialists over several years to help design the project and prepare the State and Federal applications.
The wind farm received development approval in May 2018 and Federal EPBC approval in November 2018. The solar farm received development approval in February 2018.
In August 2020, Stanwell Corporation and the Queensland government announced a 346.5MW Power Purchase Agreement for Clarke Creek as part of a 15-year commitment to the project.
Stage One of the project will create about 350 construction jobs and inject more than $100 million into the local economy. About 20 to 25 permanent staff will also be employed.