Queensland’s largest wind farm, located on the Atherton Tableland in Far North Queensland, is on track for completion during September 2018 thanks to the positive working relationship between the Department of State Development, Manufacturing Infrastructure and Planning and its developer, Ratch Australia.

The $380 million Mount Emerald Wind Farm’s approval is a clear demonstration of the Queensland Government’s commitment to a 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030 and will result in more than 200 jobs during the construction phase, with 10–15 permanent operational positions. It is estimated the project will inject over $35 million into the local economy during construction, with more than 20 local suppliers already contracted from the wider Cairns region after extensive work by the department to help businesses submit expressions of interest.

Kim Forde, Community Stakeholder Engagement, Ratch Australia said the department’s project facilitation support had been invaluable and helped ensure the wind farm’s successful approval.

“We’ve been very fortunate to have built a fantastic relationship with the department since the project’s inception in 2011. The regional Cairns office has helped to us to develop relationships with key stakeholders, secure permit conditions under complex circumstances and provided us with locally relevant and very pertinent advice,” Ms Forde said. When completed, the farm’s 53 wind turbines will deliver 180 megawatts of renewable energy of power – predicted to meet the annual needs of around 75,000 north Queensland homes over a minimum 25-year period.