Mt Emerald Wind Farm Photo credit: Ports North

Photo credit: Ports North

Eighty-one massive wind turbine blades arrived at the Port of Cairns in late September, bound for the Mt Emerald Wind Farm project on the Atherton Tableland.

The blades, each 57 metres long and weighing 16 tonnes, will become part of the biggest wind turbines ever built in Queensland.

Ratch Australia is building the $380 million wind farm, which it says will supply on average one-third of Far North Queensland’s power needs — equal to power for around 75,000 homes.

Speaking on 28 September, Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment Curtis Pitt said the Danish wind turbine blades were the latest delivery for the Mt Emerald project.

‘Last week we saw the first shipment of tower sections shipped directly into the Port of Cairns and today we are seeing the blades being unloaded ready to be transported to the Tablelands,’ Mr Pitt said.

‘The blades are part of an estimated 185,000 revenue tonnes of cargo to be delivered over the life of the project.

‘The Mt Emerald Wind Farm project will see the creation of around 150 jobs during the construction phase and represents a significant boost to our local economy, especially for the contractors, suppliers, transport, and logistics companies involved.’

The huge blades were transported from the wharf to a newly constructed cargo laydown area at Tingira Street,

Ports North chair Russell Beer said the four-hectare Tingira Street site had been purpose built by Ports North to accommodate the wind farm components in Cairns before their transport by road to the site on the Atherton Tableland.

‘Ports North has been actively working to increase project freight opportunities through the port,’ he said.

‘The shipping of the Mt Emerald Wind Farm project cargo confirms the capabilities of Cairns as a project shipping port.’

Ratch says the Mt Emerald project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by around 450,000 tonnes each year.

The wind farm is due to start full commercial operations in September 2018.

Renewable energy is one of the priority areas identified in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.