AGL joins consortium to develop offshore wind assets

Floating offshore wind turbines against cloudy blue sky (offshore wind)
Image: Shutterstock

Australia’s biggest coal generator, AGL Energy, has joined a global consortium of renewable energy developers for an offshore wind project in Victoria’s Gippsland region.

The consortium, which includes Canada’s CPP Investments and Japan’s Mitsui, has applied for a feasibility licence to develop a 2.5GW offshore wind project in Gippsland, which is Australia’s first official offshore wind zone.

Related article: Gippsland officially named Australia’s first offshore wind zone

If the licence application is successful, the offshore wind project will become a key component of AGL’s transition away from coal generation by 2035, a plan that will likely find favour with major shareholder and tech billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes through his Grok Ventures investment firm.

AGL recently closed Liddell Power Station in NSW and is due to retire its Bayswater coal plant within the next decade. It will need to replace 12GW of electricity generation capacity, more of half of which the company says will come from utility-scale solar and wind projects.

“Wind energy will be an important part of our plan to responsibly transition our generation portfolio to meet our customer demand and keep Australia’s electricity supply secure, reliable, and affordable,” AGL chief financial officer Gary Brown said.

“As a major employer in the Gippsland region, we are committed to working with our people and the community to ensure the decarbonisation of our energy system continues to provide opportunities.”

Estimates show 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.

Related article: Curtain closes on 52-year-old Liddell Power Station

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 10GW of year-round wind energy generation.

The declared offshore wind zone in Gippsland, Victoria, covers about 15,000 square kilometres offshore, and runs from Lakes Entrance in the east to south of Wilsons Promontory in the west.

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