Dr Andrew Forrest AO has unveiled a $3 billion renewable energy precinct in Central Queensland, with contracts already issued for the immediate start of construction. The powerful new green energy precinct will deliver lower power prices for households and businesses, create regional jobs and boost local economies across the state.
Under the plan announced by Dr Forrest, Squadron Energy – the energy division of Tattarang – has acquired Stage One and Two of the Clarke Creek wind, solar and battery farm to create the largest renewable energy precinct in the southern hemisphere.
The project could produce enough wind, solar and battery energy to power more than 660,000 homes, equivalent to 40 per cent of Queensland households, and will export lower cost electricity directly into the National Electricity Market. Due to its combination of solar, wind and battery technologies, it will help directly lower power prices for millions of Queensland households and businesses.
Dr Andrew Forrest AO said the deal was a landmark moment for Australia’s green energy future.
“We have commenced construction of what will be the largest renewable energy precinct in the southern hemisphere – but I am delighted to say that we will not hold this record for long, with other renewable energy projects under development that will surpass our project in scale. We intend to bring on other projects which will be larger than today’s record,” Dr Forrest said.
“We are investing in Clarke Creek not only to harness the renewable power of the wind and sun to energise our homes, our factories and our cities, but as a critical step towards breaking our reliance on fossil fuels.
“Climate change is the single greatest threat to our existence, and we must meet this global challenge with tenacity and speed. This announcement is a signal that Australia is prepared to act with purpose to realise our 100 per cent, green, renewable, zero-emissions energy future.”
With grid connection, long-term supply agreements and all necessary state and federal approvals for Clarke Creek already in place, Squadron Energy will now accelerate the start of construction with Stage One anticipated to be fully operational in 2024. Stage Two could come online in 2026.
Located 150 kilometres northwest of Rockhampton, Clarke Creek’s grid-scale generation capability will displace 2.7 million tonnes of carbon each year and has strong alignment with the Queensland government’s integrated energy plan for the state.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk welcomed the commitment from Squadron Energy to invest in Central Queensland.
“The Clarke Creek wind and solar farm will support regional jobs during construction,” the Premier said.
“Delivering such a huge renewable energy boost takes Queensland closer to achieving our targets of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050.”
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, making the wind farm crucial to accelerating the decarbonisation of the State’s economy.
Construction of Stage One will create approximately 350 jobs and inject well over $100 million into the local and regional economy during a three-year construction period. Specific career development and retraining programs will be created for employees across Queensland’s coal power stations, creating new job opportunities for regional communities from Australia’s growing green energy economy.
Construction on Stage One will begin immediately, the project is ‘shovel ready’ and received development approval in May 2018, federal environmental approval in November 2018 and grid connection approval earlier this year.
About the Clarke Creek wind, solar and battery farm
The Clarke Creek wind, solar and battery farm is located 150 km northwest of Rockhampton and 150km south of Mackay in the Isaac Shire and Livingstone Shire areas.
Clarke Creek represents an excellent combination of strong and predominantly night-time wind energy generation to complement Queensland solar production.