Seabed and marine mammal studies are part of a programme of site investigations that will provide an insight into site conditions for the planned Star of the South offshore windfarm off the coast of Gippsland in the state of Victoria
The seabed is being investigated using the vessel Silver Star. Over a period of two weeks, the vessel will complete seabed investigations including mapping the seafloor, measuring water depths and identifying any buried infrastructure such as cables or shipwrecks. Data collected from the studies will help determine the type of foundations needed for the wind turbines.
Acoustic monitoring is also being undertaken to understand the number and type of marine mammals in and around the project area. To complement acoustic monitoring, aerial surveys of the project area are underway. Aerial bird surveys are also being undertaken to identify the number and type of birds in the area. This data is being supported by migratory bird tagging to understand the flight paths of species.
Onshore bird surveys started in February 2020 and soil testing is underway to understand the local ground conditions. Wind and wave monitoring equipment has been out at sea since November 2019, collecting data on the wind profile and wave conditions and will continue for several years to inform the design of the windfarm.
Star of the South would connect to the grid in the Latrobe Valley. It has a potential capacity of 2 GW.
Star of the South chief development officer Erin Coldham said, “We’re undertaking underwater investigations to collect important data to help inform the design of the windfarm, including the number and type of wind turbines.
“Mapping the seabed and collecting baseline information on the ground conditions is an important part of understanding the site and planning for an offshore wind project off the south coast of Gippsland.
“Star of the South would provide a reliable and consistent source of power, supplying around 18% of Victoria’s electricity needs and helping to prevent blackouts in summer.”
“We are excited about the opportunities Star of the South could create for jobs and investment in the Gippsland region and broader economy.”