Australia’s First Offshore Wind Farm A Step Closer

Australia’s First Offshore Wind Farm A Step Closer

Australia, which has seen a massive ramp up in its solar capacity, is finally making a move to add offshore wind to its renewables portfolio as well, with plans for the first offshore wind farms reaching feasibility stage with the handout of licenses to prospective project studies. With no nuclear plant in the country, Australia has resolutely opposed any plans till now, and offshore wind is seen as one way to ensure a complete transition can be managed in time with national goals.

The projects proposed for development are off the coast of Gippsland in Victoria, where licenses for feasibility studies on six sites  have been awarded, with another six to follow. The hope is for a total of 25GW of renewable capacity from these 12 projects eventually.

The projects include Copenhagen Infrastructure Partner’s (CIP) 2.2GW Star of the South project, seen as a frontrunner for moving ahead first.

Other awardees include Danish wind firm Ørsted,  and a project for Spain’s EDP Renewables and Engie.

Domestic energy firm AGL wounds off the list of 6, along with Blue Marlin, owned by Parkwind/Jera.

The licences allow developers to make a start on detailed assessments of their proposed projects, including environmental studies and management plans. If feasibility is proven, they can apply for a commercial licence to build and operate an offshore wind farm.

For Victoria state, off whose coastline these projects are planned, the target is to have at least  2 gigawatts of offshore wind energy generation by 2032, 4 GW by 2035 and 9 GW by 2040.

Notably, the list of six winners, and the six more waiting in the winds, include no Chinese player as yet, as Western firms hang on grimly to their markets in the offshore wind space. For the present batch of firms, some serious investments into the feasibility studies await, as a wide range of studies and stakeholder involvement has been mandated before final go ahead. That is one reason no project is expected to be finally up and running before 2032.

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