With 180 wind turbines, construction of Australia’s largest wind farm begins

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 is expected to cost $2 billion and will produce 1,026 megawatts of power from 180 wind turbines.

Brett Wickham, chief executive of the company behind the project, Acciona Energia, said the project will create 650 jobs, around half of which are to source from the local community.

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

Learn from the past

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

He will see many wind turbines in his house, as well as a number of them on his property.

“They’re all a good distance from my house and all my neighbors’ houses, so that’s important,” Mr Finlay said.

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

“But it’s [more about] how the business behaves while on your property.

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

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

Brent Finlay said that during his time as NFF president, he sat around many kitchen tables, witnessing the shock of landowners who saw drilling rigs coming up their driveway at the improvised.

He said he had higher hopes for the wind farm industry.

More than just power generation

Up the road in Karara, Lachlan McLeish raises cattle and sheep on his property.

The wind turbines will be within sight, on the property of its neighbours.

Although he will not directly benefit from the project, Mr McLeish said it is not just landowners who will benefit from the project.

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

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