Victoria Sets Massive Budget for Offshore Wind, Green Hydrogen

The government of Australia’s state of Victoria is pouring the first AUD 108 million (around EUR 67 million) from its clean energy 2020/21 budget into the first steps toward bringing new renewable energy and hydrogen projects, such as the country’s first offshore wind farm, to realisation.

The funds will support research, start-ups and innovation, and provide direct industry grants to get power from ground-breaking concepts out of the lab and into the grid, the state government said.

This also includes starting the assessment of the transmission infrastructure requirements and considering the regulation and investment environment to support a major offshore wind industry, according to the Andrews Labor Government.

Furthermore, the funding will also accelerate the development of green hydrogen, produced using renewable sources.

“The Andrews Labor Government is fast-tracking the next generation of renewable energy, with more than $100 million to unlock the next wave of cleaner, more reliable power, which could create thousands of jobs”, the official press release states.

In the Victorian Budget 2020/21, the government earmarked AUD 1.6 billion (around EUR 987 million) for boosting the state’s decarbonisation plans, with offshore wind, green hydrogen, and other renewable energy technologies to receive a big chunk of the funding.

The budget includes AUD 540 million (approximately EUR 333 million) for establishing six Renewable Energy Zones, including those for offshore wind such as off Gippsland, where the Star of the South project is under development.

“We welcome the Victorian Government’s Budget commitments to support the development of clean energy innovations such as offshore wind and to make Gippsland a Renewable Energy Zone”, Star of the South Wind Farm, a joint venture between Australia’s Offshore Energy and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), stated.

“We’re pleased to see a Clean Energy Skills and Jobs Taskforce will be created to provide independent expert advice on the sector’s skills needs and oversee the development of a Clean Energy Workforce Development Strategy. We thank the Victorian Government for these commitments and are looking forward to working together to make Gippsland and Victoria the home of offshore wind in Australia”.

This significant push that Victoria’s government is providing for the renewable energy sector is said to help drive new investment, open up export opportunities and support local businesses and jobs, as well as allow for international companies to deploy new technology such as offshore wind in Australia.

The now allocated innovation funding will make a major contribution to emissions reductions and put Victoria on track to meet its net zero 2050 target, and set a stage for job creation across multiple industries.

“This is about jobs – jobs in major new projects and industries that will deliver cleaner, cheaper, more reliable energy for Victorians”, said Lily D’Ambrosio, Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change. “Industries like offshore wind and hydrogen from renewables have huge potential, not only to boost power supply and reliability, but to create jobs, save households money and tackle climate change”.

Photo: Star of the South Wind Farm; Illustration