MacIntyre Wind Farm Precinct is an upcoming 1,026MW onshore wind complex being built in south-west of Warwick, Queensland, Australia.
The precinct will comprise two wind farms- 103MW Karara Wind Farm and 923MW MacIntyre Wind Farm.
Karara Wind Farm will be owned and operated by the Queensland State Owned Enterprise CleanCo, while the MacIntyre Wind Farm will be owned and operated by ACCIONA Energía Australia.
Once complete, the project will generate enough electricity to power 700,000 homes offsetting around 3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
MacIntyre Precinct will also be ACCIONA’s biggest renewable energy facility and one of the largest onshore wind farms in the world.
Overall, the wind complex will entail an investment of around A$2bn ($1.26bn).
Construction works to build the precinct officially began in June 2022. The entire MacIntyre precinct is scheduled to be operational in 2024.
MacIntyre Wind Farm Precinct is located 50km south-west of Warwick and 10km south of Karara. The location is around 200km south-west of Brisbane.
It will occupy 36,000ha of leased land, which is primarily used for sheep farming. The site was selected due to its exposure to consistent winds as well as its proximity to a connection point to the power grid.
The existing farming practices will continue during the construction and operations phases of the wind farm.
In April 2021, Queensland’s State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA) granted development approval for the MacIntyre Wind Farm project. The development application was submitted in July 2020.
The renewable energy project secured environmental approval in March 2022.
ACCIONA partnered with Ark Energy, a subsidiary of Korea Zinc, in March 2021 to build the MacIntyre Wind Farm. Under the agreement, Ark Energy acquired a 30% stake in the 923.4MW MacIntryre Wind Farm.
MacIntyre Wind Farm project details
MacIntyre Wind Farm Precinct will feature a total of 180 5.7MW turbines. The MacIntyre Wind Farm will have 162 turbines, while the Karara Wind Farm will consist of an additional 18 turbines.
Each turbine will consist of a tower, a three-blade rotor and a nacelle. The height of the turbines will be up to 285m from the ground to the maximum blade tip.
The construction period, expected to run for 18-24 months, commenced with building access roads to the site.
These roads will be used to transport project components and equipment during construction and thereafter for maintenance.
The wind turbines will be placed on foundations built with concrete, reinforced steel and bolts. Each foundation will be 20m in diameter and approximately 3m in depth.
According to ACCIONA, the towers will be assembled in sections.
A large crane will be used to erect the towers and bolted into position. Subsequently, the nacelle will be lifted and fixed to the tower. The blades of the turbine will be attached individually.
The project will feature an underground electrical collection system to connect each wind turbine to an onsite substation. This substation will be connected to Powerlink Transmission network via an overhead transmission line.
The project will also have an operations and maintenance building for monitoring all on-site operations.
The transmission infrastructure will feature two new switching stations and nearly 65km of 330kV transmission line connecting the project to Powerlink’s existing 330kV Millmerran to Middle Ridge transmission line.
Contractors involved and PPA agreements
Germany-headquartered Nordex will be supplying wind turbines for the project. The company was contracted to supply 162 Nordex Delta 4000-N163/5.7 turbines.
Queensland government-owned electricity transmission system operator Powerlink was selected by ACCIONA to connect the MacIntyre Precinct to the state’s electricity grid.
In October 2022, Ark Energy signed a PPA to supply Australian telecommunications company Telstra with renewable electricity from its share of the 923.4MW MacIntyre Wind Farm.
ACCIONA has secured a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with CleanCo to acquire the annual production from 400MW of ACCIONA's facilities for ten years.
MacIntyre Wind Farm will also power Korea Zinc’s Australian subsidiary Sun Metals Corporation and support the miner to achieve its goal of meeting all energy requirements from renewables by 2040.