Construction of Australia’s largest wind farm begins with 180 turbines

In Traprock Country, 60 kilometers west of Warwick, construction has begun on one of the largest wind farms in the Southern Hemisphere.

The MacIntyre Wind Precinct will cost $2 billion and will produce 1,026 megawatts of energy from 180 wind turbines.

Brett Wickham, the director of the company behind the project, Acciona Energia, said the project will create 650 jobs, about half of which are in the local community.

Brett Wickham of Acciona Energia says the district will create hundreds of jobs.ABC Rural: Alys Marshall

Learning from the past

Wind farms have long been a topic of discussion among landownersbut former National Farmers Federation (NFF) president Brent Finlay said he was working with Acciona Enegia to make sure this project would be different.

He will see many wind turbines from his home, but also a few on his property.

“They are all a good distance from my house and all my neighbours’ houses so that is important,” said Mr Finlay.

A wind turbine without blades overlooking farmland.
The district’s 180 turbines, when completed, are expected to power 700,000 homes.Supplied: Acciona Energia

“But it is [more about] how the company behaves when they are on your property.

The MacIntyre Wind Precinct has been compared to another energy industry with a similar land acquisition process: coal gas, or CSG.

Man in white shirt with hat on smiles while standing in front of bushland
Grazier Brent Finlay will see many of the turbines from his home in the Goondiwindi region.ABC Rural: Alys Marshall

Brent Finlay said that during his time as NFF president, he sat at numerous kitchen tables, witnessing the shock of landowners who had seen unannounced oil rigs in their driveway.

He said he has higher expectations of the wind farm industry.

More than just energy production

Down the road from Karara, Lachlan McLeish runs cattle and sheep on his property.

The wind turbines come into view, on the land of its neighbors.

Despite not directly benefiting from the project, Mr McLeish said it will not be just landowners who will benefit from the project.

Man in blue shirt and cap stands in front of cleared land with his hands in his pockets.
Lachlan McLeish says the Traprock region’s land is perfect for a wind farm. ABC Rural: Alys Marshall

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