The Morrison Government has approved a deed of licence to allow Offshore Energy Pty Ltd (OEPL) to undertake resource exploration for an offshore wind farm.
The licence will allow OEPL to undertake exploration in Commonwealth waters about eight to 13km off the Gippsland coast in Victoria.
The sector is growing rapidly internationally, but there are no offshore wind farms in Australia. This exploration will determine if Australia can be part of this sector in the longer term.
Offshore wind farms could provide Australia with significant new investment and employment possibilities while also contributing to the stability of the grid and lowering power prices.
Related article:Renewables outperformed coal this summer: report
Offshore wind is more plentiful and consistent than onshore wind and aligns better with energy demand.
Through this licence, OEPL will be allowed to undertake activities to assess wind resources and sea bed conditions understand whether an offshore farm is technically feasible.
OEPL has not been given any rights to develop or operate an offshore wind farm under this licence. The licence requires OEPL to undertake extensive consultation with the community and industry before undertaking any activities.
As this offshore wind farm exploration is an Australian-first, the Government has carefully considered this proposal.
The Government’s engagement with the proposal is only in relation to the exploration licence and it is not providing financial support toward the development of the project.
Related article:AEMC: energy debate suffering from reactive policy