News State Victoria News Offshore wind farm proposed for waters off Victoria’s Gippsland coast
Updated:

Offshore wind farm proposed for waters off Victoria’s Gippsland coast

The offshore wind farm would connect to the existing network and could supply power to 1.2 million homes.
Share
Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

Plans for an Australian-first offshore wind farm off Victoria’s south-east coast, which could provide almost a fifth of the state’s energy, have won cautious government support.

Offshore Energy has been working with the Federal Government on a feasibility study for the 250-turbine proposal, and will present details of the plan to a Victorian Government-led energy roundtable in Churchill on Friday.

The wind farm, which would be built in waters near Port Albert, would spread over 570 square kilometres in Commonwealth waters, and could provide 18 per cent of the state’s energy.

Offshore Energy’s managing director Andy Evans said the $8 billion project could reduce carbon emissions by about 10.5 million tonnes per year.

“The benefits of offshore wind, particularly off the coast of Gippsland, is it’s a much more consistent and constant wind resource,” he said.

“You don’t have as many of the restrictions as you would have with other land-based wind resources.”

Mr Evans said the wind farm would connect to the existing network and could supply power to 1.2 million homes.

He said the feasibility testing phase would take three years.

“Offshore wind projects have been developing rapidly, particularly in Europe, but also in the northern hemisphere,” Mr Evans said.

“There are a number of offshore developers and certainly large infrastructure investors, particularly here and overseas, that are progressing these projects.”

Hope for thousands of jobs

Preliminary planning and environmental studies show the plant could generate direct about 12,000 direct and indirect jobs, in a region that has been plagued by job losses since the Hazelwood power station shutdown.

Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Darren Chester, who is the MP for Gippsland, has given early support, pending an environmental study.

“We have great natural resources in Gippsland — wind off the coast, coal timber. If there are ways to capture that and turn into energy that powers manufacturing sector, I am all for that,” he said.

“But it’s important the proponents work with the local community.”

Victoria’s Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the company would first need to get the go-ahead from the Federal Government, before seeking Victorian planning and environmental approvals.

“This is a massive project. It’s an exciting project, it is unprecedented and one that our Government supports and we’ll continue to work alongside Offshore Energy to work through all of the planning requirements,” she said.

“We will work together with the Commonwealth to ensure that all of the necessary approvals are dealt with so in the end Offshore Energy can go ahead.”

The company said it had not discussed federal funding options.

—ABC

Comments
View Comments