THE developer of a major wind farm on Queensland’s Western Downs is assuring local suppliers their tenders will be at the “top of the priority list” when deciding which contractors to engage during the $1 billion project’s construction phase.

Cubico Sustainable Investments, the company behind the 500MW Wambo Wind Farm being built near Jandowae, has appointed global energy giant Vestas as its Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor and said Western Downs businesses would now be the focus for the construction supply chain.

Close to 160 local firms expressed interest in working on the wind farm as part of a capability survey overseen by Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise (TSBE).

Cubico executive director Andres Maasing (pictured) said the survey report had given the company a strong overview of how requirements for the project could be fulfilled as it prepared to begin construction later this year.

(L-R) Cubico Head of Australia David Smith, Powerlink business development manager Brett Mann, Stanwell executive general manager Richard Jefery and Cubico executive director Andres Maasing

“Vestas is currently in the process of tendering for subcontractors – civil and electrical – and looking to appoint somebody within the next few months,” Maasing told guests at a TSBE Enterprise Evening in Chinchilla.

“That information (from the capability survey) has been all passed on to Vestas and they’ve passed that on to subcontractors who are currently tendering for the activities.

“The intention is that all those participants will be either approached or will be engaged to tender to Vestas. It is our intention to ensure that as much opportunity is presented to local industry as possible in order to deliver this project.”

Map showing the location of the Wambo Wind Farm site

The Wambo Wind Farm is being built in two stages, the first comprising the construction of 42 turbines with an additional 68 turbines to follow.

Maasing said Cubico hoped to also build a 50MW/200MWh battery at the site, about 70km north of Dalby, but said the storage facility was still remained “a bit of a dream for us” at this stage.

Around 200 jobs will be created during construction of the first phase and 20 jobs will be supported over the 30-year operational period.

Additional jobs will be required for government owned transmission operator Powerlink to build infrastructure to connect Wambo Wind Farm to the energy market.

Powerlink business development manager Brett Mann said local suppliers would also be prioritised where possible for that part of the project.

Local suppliers visiting the Wambo Wind Farm site last year

“We’ve just completed the final corridor selection for the transmission line for connecting the wind farm,” Mann said.

“Our next step is going to be working out exactly where in the corridor the infrastructure for the transmission will go, which will transport the green energy from the wind farm to the grid.

“As you’d appreciate, building transmission lines and electricity infrastructure is highly specialised and technical work, which sometimes means that general employment opportunities on the transmission parts of the project can be a bit limited.

“The technical work is generally undertaken by specialised contractors that Powerlink engages, however where possible we will engage with local suppliers and work with our principal contractors to ensure that local goods and services and suppliers are used at every opportunity.”

Andres Maasing from Cubico said “it’s not too late” for those who missed the capability survey to express their interest in tendering. Contact information is available on the Wambo Wind Farm website.

SLIDESHOW – Guests in attendance at a TSBE Enterprise Evening in Chinchilla

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