Australia Starts Process to Designate First Offshore Wind Zone

The Australian government has nominated the Bass Strait off Gippsland, Victoria, as the first offshore wind area to be formally assessed under its new Offshore Electricity Infrastructure framework.

A map detailing the declared area off Gippsland has been released for public comment.

Source: Australia’s Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and
Water

The government has invited the public to comment on the notice for the proposed Gippsland zone, with submissions to be received by 7 October 2022 in order to be considered.

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The next zones that will enter the consultation phase are the Pacific Ocean region of Portland in Victoria, the Bass Strait region off northern Tasmania, and the Indian Ocean region off Perth and Bunbury in Western Australia, according to Cris Bowen MP, Australia’s Minister for Climate Change and Energy.

The Bass Strait off Gippsland is home to several proposed offshore wind projects, including the 1.5 GW Seadragon being developed by Flotation Energy, the 1.3 GW Greater Gippsland project developed by BlueFloat Energy and Energy Estate, the 2.5 GW Great Eastern project developed by Corio Generation, and the 2 GW Star of the South, Australia’s first and most progressed offshore wind project.

Starting the process to declare Gippsland as an area for offshore wind development will give greater certainty to the industry, the local supply chain, and communities, Star of the South said.

Anticipating operating off the Gippsland coast by the end of the decade, Star of the South believes Gippsland is best placed to become the home of Australia’s offshore wind industry due to its strong wind resource, good grid connections and skilled workforce.

Star of the South is in the development phase, recently completing geotechnical surveys along its proposed 75-kilometre transmission route and more than two years of marine surveys in Bass Strait.

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The project would create an estimated 2,000 Victorian jobs across its life, with AUD 8.7 billion investment in Victoria.

”We are pleased to see Bass Strait off Gippsland being formally considered as the first location for offshore electricity projects, and consultation starting with local communities, fishers and other marine users,” Star of the South Acting CEO, Erin Coldham.

”We know the wind conditions here are ideal, with many opportunities for investment in the region. A local offshore wind sector will deliver a clean energy boost, cut emissions, and create local jobs. It’s encouraging to see the Government pushing ahead with offshore wind in Gippsland and keeping the momentum going. We encourage all community members to have their say during the required 60-day public consultation process to ensure projects are developed with local input in mind.”

The government of Tasmania has welcomed the announcement of the proposed offshore wind energy zone for the Bass Strait region off Northern Tasmania.

Nexsphere’s planned Bass Offshore Wind Energy project for North-East Tasmania would generate up to 1000 MW – enough energy to power 325,000 homes.

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The project involves 35 to 70 turbines to be located 30 kilometres offshore to minimise visual impact and support Australia’s transition to a zero-emissions economy.

The development of Tasmania’s offshore wind energy potential complements Marinus Link, Battery of the Nation, and Tasmania’s plans to supply renewable energy for a green hydrogen industry to be based out of the Bell Bay Advanced Manufacturing Zone, the Tasmanian government said.

The Australian government will announce further details around their public consultation process for the proposed Bass Strait offshore wind energy zone in Tasmania.

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