Australia’s first offshore wind farm proposed for Victorian waters

Offshore wind farm

An Australian-first 2000MW offshore wind farm has been proposed for waters off the Victorian coast by developer Offshore Energy.

The Star of the South Energy Project, located within a 574sq km area in Commonwealth waters off the coast of Gippsland in eastern Victoria, would be the first offshore wind farm in Australia.

About 12,000 direct jobs would be generated during construction, as well as 300 ongoing jobs.

Development for the $8 billion project is still in early stages, with the company presenting at a Victorian Government New Energy Technology Roundtable at Federation University today.

Offshore Energy managing director Andy Evans said offshore wind’s natural higher capacity factor and more constant generation would benefit electricity system capacity and security as Australia transitions to a more diverse energy mix.

“When placed in the right wind conditions like those off the coast of Gippsland, offshore wind delivers a high, consistent flow of electricity.”

The offshore wind farm would connect to existing infrastructure in the Latrobe Valley via undersea and underground transmission cables to deliver about 8000GWh of electricity annually.

This is equal to approximately 18 per cent of Victoria’s power usage or enough to power 1.2 million homes and reduce carbon emissions by about 10.5 million tonnes per year.

Offshore Energy has been working with the Commonwealth government to establish the appropriate rights in order to investigate the feasibility of constructing the project.

An extensive and positive preliminary planning and environmental study has already been undertaken by leading global engineering firm WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff.

The company has also commenced a comprehensive stakeholder engagement process.

“A project of the size and significance of Star of the South has a large number and diversity of important stakeholders and we recognise the importance of early and sincere consultation,” he said.

Preliminary analysis of the proposed site off the coast of Gippsland shows high-capacity for reliable power generation.

Mr Evans said the delivered cost of electricity from offshore wind had plummeted in recent years.

“Even on current cost, offshore wind provides a new and exciting option for Australia’s energy capacity and security. We expect technology and installation costs to continue to come down.”

Offshore Energy is in advanced discussions with local and international investors with experience in offshore wind development and investment in large-scale energy and infrastructure projects.

He said the project had the potential to play a major role in transitioning the Gippsland economy, place downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices, and improve power system security and reliability.

“Our project provides an opportunity for Australia to meet a number of energy security, economic and environmental objectives and, importantly, creates large and sustainable opportunities for the local community.”

The Star of the South Energy Project is named after a 19th century passenger ship that travelled from the UK to the region.