Construction paused at Australian wind farm after reports of safety concerns

Construction work has paused at the 800MW Clarke Creek wind farm in eastern Australia for a second time amid reports of safety concerns at the site.

Andrew Forrest (centre), former CEO of Fortescue Metals Group and head of Fortescue Future Industries, owns Squadron Energy. (Credit: The Washington Post / Getty Images)

Entrepreneur Andrew “Twiggy” Forest’s renewables company Squadron Energy said it was “briefly pausing” work at the Clarke Creek site in Queensland during a handover of project responsibilities from CWP Renewables, which it purchased last year.

Local media reported yesterday (17 May) that it had been told work on the project had already been shut down several times amid safety issues since construction began in July last year.

The Australian Financial Review said it had been told by a source familiar with the site that safety concerns included “a traffic control vehicle going off a road, and a small crane rolling and nearly hitting a worker”, while the source noted that the site did not seem “inherently unsafe”.

Squadron Energy did not deny that safety concerns had influenced the pause in construction work.

Asked to comment, Jason Willoughby, CEO of Squadron Energy, told Windpower Monthly: “As part of the handover to Squadron Energy, we are briefly pausing work and doing a full project management review before on-site activity increases when component deliveries begin. All agreements with contractors remain in place and will continue.

“We understand the impact pausing work can have and we will keep contractors updated on when they can get back on site. The project management review is examining all aspects of best practice delivery including biodiversity, safety and cultural heritage plans.”

Chinese manufacturer Goldwind is supplying Clarke Creek with turbines and it is expected online in 2025 according to Windpower Intelligence, the data and research division of Windpower Monthly.