The Andrews Labor Government in the state of Victoria has welcomed plans for Australia’s first offshore windfarm.
The proposal for a 250-turbine offshore windfarm in a 574km2 area would deliver around 8,000GWh of electricity per year. This is approximately 18 per cent of Victoria’s power usage or enough to power 1.2 million homes.
Victoria-based Offshore Energy has been working with the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments to progress the proposal to a formal feasibility assessment of the project called ‘Star of the South’.
If successful, the project would generate investment of around A$8 billion (US$6 billion), create 12,000 jobs during the construction phase and 300 ongoing operational and maintenance jobs. It would be located between 10km and 25km off the Gippsland coastline. Preliminary analysis of the proposed site off the coast of Gippsland shows high-capacity for reliable power generation.
It is anticipated the project will have a feasibility phase of at least three years and if progressed would connect to existing infrastructure in the Latrobe Valley via undersea and underground transmission cables.
Offshore Energy has a memorandum of understanding with the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments which, if the project receives the appropriate rights from the Commonwealth Government to commence exploration activities, will assist with progressing the permitting process for this project.
If the project goes ahead, it is hoped the windfarm could be generating power in time to contribute to the Labor Government’s renewable energy target of 40 per cent by 2025.
Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, said, “A new renewable power generator of this size would drive down electricity prices. We will support Offshore Energy wherever we can to progress this study. Offshore wind would add to Victoria’s system capacity and security as Australia transitions to a more diverse energy mix.”
Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing said, “This is an incredibly exciting proposal that has the potential to be a real game-changer in Gippsland – not only in terms of power generation, but also for local jobs and economic growth.”