WIND FARM MEETING: Residents gather at the community meeting to discuss the Kingaroy wind farm project.
WIND FARM MEETING: Residents gather at the community meeting to discuss the Kingaroy wind farm project. Claudia Williams

Wind farm to bring more than 100 jobs during construction

UP TO 130 people will be employed for the construction of the Kingaroy Wind Farm and work will to start in 2020.

That's according to engineer Nick Canto from I3 Consulting who spoke at a community meeting about the project in Kingaroy last week.

"Where possible and appropriate, it makes economic sense to hire locals,” Mr Canto said.

"They are part of the community and you don't have the social issues that come with fly in fly out.”

The Australian Energy Wind Farm project will include 16 wind turbine generators with an output of 53.55MW and the potential to supply 19,000 homes.

Construction is expected to start by 2020 and Australian Energy Wind Farm is seeking approval for the next generation of machines that have 80m blades and a 220m tick height.

South Burnett Councillor Terry Fleischfresser said there were no concerns about Chinese-owned company building the project.

"If it is coming here, making jobs and producing what we need to produce, we have an open policy for investment,” Cr Fleischfresser said.

The councillor praised the company for having the initiative to organise the community meeting.

"This is the very early stages and I give them due credit for coming and discussing this openly because it is a huge amount of technology, data and planning that they have got to go through,” he said.

At the meeting, some residents expressed concerns about how heavy machinery would access the site, which will be 32km west of Kingaroy and 13.2km southeast of Kumbia, especially via Ironpot Rd.

Mr Canto said it had been recognised that considerable upgrade works would be necessary to deliver components to the site.

While the project is expected to have a 30-year life span Mr Canto said it was a simple exercise to revisit and re-power projects with the latest technology.

"We shouldn't think about renewable energy projects like wind and solar being there for 20 years and then being packed up and put away,” he said.

"The reality is this will be our energy source through a re-powering process going forward.”

Mr Canto said now was the best opportunity for South Burnett residents to have their say on the wind farm project.

"It is now that we can influence what the planning application looks like, we can understand what is important to the community and we can shape this project,” he said.