Australia Designates First Offshore Wind Zone, Gives Star of the South Major Project Status
Australia’s federal government and the Victoria state government, together with Wellington Shire Council, local community members, and industry have formally declared the Bass Strait off Gippsland as Australia’s first offshore wind zone and awarded Major Project Status to the Star of the South offshore wind farm.
The declared area in Gippsland, Victora, covers about 15,000 square kilometres offshore and runs from Lakes Entrance in the east to south of Wilsons Promontory in the west.
The windy Bass Strait off Gippsland, and the strong grid across Gippsland and the La Trobe Valley, mean this area has the potential to support more than 10 GW of year-round wind energy generation, said the Australian government.
Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen said Gippsland’s declaration was a crucial step towards affordable, reliable, secure energy and new economic opportunities for Australia.
It is estimated that the offshore wind projects off Gippsland could support more than 3,000 jobs over the next 15 years during their development and construction phases, and an additional 3,000 ongoing operational jobs.
“We want to see more large-scale projects built in coming years. This will help integrate Australian manufacturing with renewable energy infrastructure, delivering more jobs in Australian companies”, said Ed Husic MP, Minister for Industry and Science.
“And that’s precisely why the National Reconstruction Fund is so important. We are putting $3 billion aside to make sustainable investments in renewables to help create those long-term, well-paid jobs.”
The announcement supports the Andrews Labor Government’s nation-first offshore wind targets – Victoria aims to reach 2 GW of offshore generation by 2032, 4 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2035, and 9 GW by 2040.
“Offshore wind is key to achieving our target of 95 per cent renewable energy by 2035 in Victoria, slashing emissions and energy bills as we lead the nation in our clean energy transition”, said Lily D’Ambrosio MP, Victorian Minister for Climate Action, Minister for Energy and Resources and Minister for the State Electricity.
Other regions being considered for future offshore wind energy projects are the Pacific Ocean regions off the Hunter and Illawarra in NSW, the Southern Ocean region off Portland in Victoria, the Bass Strait region off Northern Tasmania, and the Indian Ocean region off Perth/Bunbury in WA.
Feasibility licence applications for offshore wind projects in the Gippsland area will open soon.
Star of the South Receives Major Project Status
Following the announcement of Australia’s first offshore wind zone, Star of the South became the first offshore wind project to receive Major Project Status from the Australian Government.
The Star of the South offshore wind farm is planned to have up to 200 wind turbines and an installed capacity of 2.2 GW.
Pending approvals, the project is planning to start construction around the middle of the decade and have its first turbine produce power by 2028.
Onshore and offshore surveys wrapped up at the project’s location site and if it proceeds to construction, the wind farm would be able to power up to 1.2 million Victorian homes with clean energy, meeting up to 20 per cent of the Australian state’s electricity needs.
BlueFloat Energy welcomed the new announcement and said that is looking forward to participating in the feasibility license tender process with its 2,085 MW Greater Gippsland offshore wind project, located between Woodside Beach and Seaspray.
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