200 jobs in limbo as work stalls on largest wind farm

 

ABOUT 200 workers are in limbo after work on Australia's largest wind farm stalled, with the company responsible for installing the 126 turbines suffering "frustrating" delays securing a Queensland building licence.

The $850 million, 453 megawatt Coopers Gap wind farm project between Dalby and Kingaroy will create enough energy to power 264,000 homes from July this year.

General Electric and ASX-listed company Boom Logistics have been commissioned to complete the project, with both in negotiations with the Queensland Government since last year to secure approvals to start work.

Approval was granted by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission on Monday, but the licence delay put on hold the installation of turbines from February and has slowed the whole project.

In a note to about 200 workers, seen by The Courier-Mail, GE's Renewable Energy projects director Carl Allcorn said the time taken to obtain the licence "has been frustrating" and pushed the project's completion date from July to late August.

"This delay has a corresponding significant impact on costs, already running into millions of dollars and growing by the day," he said.

Coopers Gap is listed as a co-ordinated project, a special status which allows the State's independent Co-ordinator-General to use his powers to cut red tape and help deliver the project.

Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham and AGL General Manager Development and Construction Dave Johnson at Coopers Gap wind farm.
Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham and AGL General Manager Development and Construction Dave Johnson at Coopers Gap wind farm.

The Queensland Building and Construction Commission, which is responsible for issuing licences, declined to provide details about the case.

"The QBCC has been working closely with all interested parties and are confident we will reach a resolution soon," a spokesman said.

The Courier-Mail understands Boom Logistics' licence was being held up while the QBCC worked through the company's legal and financial arrangements.

Under new Minimum Financial Reporting laws companies must have working capital to meet their obligations to sub-contractors and suppliers.

Boom Logistics was granted approval on Monday with conditions it provide internal management accounts to the QBCC each month and prove it was compliant with the financial guidelines.

Coopers Gap joins 10 approved solar projects in the Western Downs region that will put more than 2000 megawatts of renewable energy into Queensland's electricity grid.