Australian government to cover cost of huge wind farm project

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Australian government to cover cost of huge wind farm project

The federal government has agreed to cover the multi-million dollar cost of connecting what will be one of the world's biggest wind farm precincts to Australia's power grid.

The Investment Arm, the Clean Energy and Finance Corporation, CEFC, has committed $160 million to connect the Southern Renewable Energy Zone REZ to the national electricity market.

The REZ currently consists of two projects in the Southern Downs - the 103 megawatt Karara Wind Farm, controlled by state government-owned renewable generator CleanCo, and the 923 MW Macintyre Wind Farm, owned and operated by renewable energy firm Acciona.

It requires 65 kilometres of overhead transmission lines and two switching stations to be connected to the energy market.

Powerlink, the company responsible for managing and running Queensland's power network, began building the infrastructure in March.

Queensland Energy Minister Mick de Brenni said CEFC would absorb the cost and that the new investment would unlock up to 500 MW of network hosting capacity.

Connecting the huge project to the national grid not only unlocks $2 billion worth of investment, it also increases reliability of power across the three eastern Australian states, with clean Queensland-made energy, he said.

Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the investment was a gamechanger. He said the investment was a gamechanger. A better future is powered by cleaner, cheaper and more reliable energy.

He said that this investment from CEFC is a gamechanger when it comes to hooking these new sources up to the grid and we want to see more of it.

This is the first partnership between a government-owned company in Queensland and the CEFC.

Federal Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen said it would increase renewable supplies to households and businesses in southern Queensland and the east-coast of Australia.

The best way to put downward pressure on energy prices is to ramp up investment in renewables, transmission and storage, and that is exactly what this $160 million commitment will do, he said.

The wind farm precinct is expected to be operational in 2024.

Chalmers didn't commit to a time frame on when households and businesses would benefit from the infrastructure.

Clearly, projects of this size and significance can't be turned on overnight and require some sort of run up.

He said that the investment will be delivered faster than otherwise.