Australia officially launches its offshore wind industry

Australia’s federal government has declared its first offshore wind farm zone. It’s off Victoria’s south coast, in the southeastern region of the country.

The Bass Strait, which separates Tasmania and Gippsland, a region in southeastern Victoria, has been designated the first offshore wind zone. The windy, 15,000-square-kilometer (5,792-square-mile) region could potentially support more than 10 gigawatts (GW) of energy generation, according to the Australian government. That’s equivalent of the power generated by around five coal plants.

The Star of the South project, which will be 7-25 km (4-16 miles) off the Wellington coast of Gippsland, announced today that it has been awarded Major Project Status, so it looks set to be Australia’s first offshore wind farm. Danish company Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners is investing in the Star of the South, and a team in Victoria is developing it. Its project website claims that Star of the South could achieve up to 2.2 GW of energy with up to 200 turbines. That means enough power for 1.2 million households.

As for the timeline, Star of the South’s website states that “it typically takes 6-10 years to develop and build an offshore wind project.” Star of the South CEO Charles Rattray also said the offshore wind farm could see first power by 2030, which is in line with Victoria’s goal to achieve 2 GW of offshore wind generation by 2032, 4 GW by 2035, and 9 GW by 2040.

PV Magazine Australia writes that the “Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water said feasibility licence applications for offshore wind projects in the Gippsland area will open soon. The Offshore Infrastructure Registrar will lead assessment of all applications and make recommendations to the Minister.”

Federal Industry Minister Ed Husic said that the “Star of the South project alone will support more than 2,280 jobs during construction and a further 300 direct jobs during operations.”


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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at michelle@9to5mac.com. Check out her personal blog.