The Federal government has recently announced that through its investment arm, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), it will foot the bill to connect one of the world’s biggest wind farms to the national Australian electricity grid.
The Southern Renewable Energy Zone
The area in question is the Southern Renewable Energy Zone (REZ), which comprises two major wind farm operations. The first is the 103MW Karara Wind Farm which is controlled by the government-owned renewable company, CleanCo. The second is the larger 923MW Macintyre Wind Farm which is operated by renewable energy firm Acciona.
Connecting to the national grid
To connect the wind farm precinct to the national grid, approximately 65 kilometres of overhead transmission lines and 2 switching stations will be required. Powerlink is the company in charge of such connections, and they began working on the infrastructure in March.
The Macintyre Wind Farm is expected to be operational by 2024, but work is already underway to ensure the connection infrastructure is ready to go. However, federal funding has sped up the process, according to Queensland’s energy Minister Mick de Brenni.
“What it’s enabled is us to get on and build it much more quickly and it’s enabled us to build it in a way that allows an additional solar farm and wind farm to potentially come in much, much sooner,” Mr de Brenni said.
Downward pressure on energy prices
In discussing the Federal Government’s commitment to connecting the REZ, Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen said that the only way to put downward pressure on rising energy prices is to invest in renewables, transmission and storage. He expects this new connection will provide a huge benefit to Queenslanders and other parts of Eastern Australia.
The $160 million investment through the CEFC is a sign of the government’s commitment to sustainable energy access and prices.
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