The Victorian Minister for Planning has decided that an Environment Effects Statement (EES) is required for Star of the South, the first offshore wind project in Australia.
The Minister explains that the project has the potential for a range of significant effects on native vegetation, habitat of terrestrial and aquatic species, water environments, Aboriginal cultural heritage, the local and regional socioeconomic environment and landscape values.
Therefore, the EES is required to provide an integrated, robust and transparent process to assess the effects and associated uncertainties and to evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed avoidance, minimization, mitigation and offsetting measures, prior to any statutory approval decisions.
Star of the South Wind Farm Pty Ltd. stated it is currently preparing to undertake a range of technical studies to support this process.
The Department of Environment, Land, Water, and Planning will prepare draft scoping requirements for the EES, which will be made available for public comment before being finalized.
From next month, the project developer will be undertaking three surveys to understand fish species in and around the project area.
Star of the South, a joint development by Australia’s Offshore Energy and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), could comprise up to 400 turbines off Gippsland, Victoria, with a combined capacity of up to 2 GW.
The environmental assessment process kicked off in April.