Image: Ian Mantel.
BY ELIZABETH FABRI
PLANS are now underway for an $8 billion 2000 megawatt wind farm project off the coast of Victoria.
Melbourne-based company Offshore Energy has been working with the Federal and State Governments to obtain approvals to enter a feasibility study, and was meeting with key government stakeholders today.
If approved, the $8 billion proposed ‘Star of the South’ project would be built within a 574sqkm area, between 10km and 25km offshore Gippsland.
The 250 turbine wind farm could deliver 8000GWh of electricity per year; about 18 per cent of Victoria’s power usage or enough to power 1.2 million homes.
Offshore Energy managing director Andy Evans said offshore wind would benefit the Australian electricity system capacity and provide greater security as the nation transitioned to a more diverse energy mix.
“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,” Mr Evans said.
“When placed in the right wind conditions like those off the coast of Gippsland, offshore wind delivers a high, consistent flow of electricity.”
Early studies showed the project would reduce carbon emissions by about 10.5 million tonnes per year, and create up to 12,000 direct and indirect jobs and 300 ongoing positions.
Victorian Energy, Environment and Climate Change minister Lily D’Ambrosio welcomed the plan, stating preliminary analysis showed high-capacity for reliable power generation.
“A new renewable power generator of this size would drive down electricity prices, and we’ll support Offshore Energy wherever we can to progress this study,” Mr D’Ambrosio said.
Offshore Energy has a memorandum of understanding with the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments, and was awaiting rights from the Federal Government to proceed.
Offshore Energy confirmed a feasibility study for the project would take at least three years, and if built the wind farm would connect to existing infrastructure in the Latrobe Valley through underground and undersea transmission cables.