Australis launches EIA process in South Australia

South Australia’s first offshore wind farm project has commenced its impact assessment process. The 600 MW SA Offshore Windfarm project will be located approximately 10km off the coast from Kingston SE, 230km south of Adelaide.

In late August, SA Offshore Windfarm Pty Ltd lodged an application for Impact Assessment to the South Australian government, and a referral, under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999(“EPBC Act”), to the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.

The project will comprise of between 40 and 75 (8-15 MW) offshore wind turbine generators (WTGs). The proposed 15MW turbines are approximately 150m tall to the centre of the rotor (nacelle). The blades are around 108m each in length, giving a base to blade tip height of around 260m.

Electricity will be fed into the South Australia electricity grid within the National Electricity Market (NEM) using both subsea and overhead transmission cables. The proposed grid connection is to the ElectraNet Black Range substation (275 kV) at Willalooka or the South East substation (275 kV) north of Mount Gambier.

The project will need an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) which will most likely commence in the second half of 2021 and will continue through much of 2022. It will also require approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999(EPBC Act) for impacts to Matters of National Environmental Significance (MNES), including Threatened Ecological Communities and Threatened and Migratory Species. Other assessment and approvals required for the Project include, heritage approvals under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988 and Heritage Places Act 1993, and consent under the Marine Parks Act 2007.

The next key milestone for the Project will be a bi-lateral agreement between the State and Federal authorities with respect to the Environmental Assessment for the Project and the issue of combined Scoping Requirements.

Subject to planning and environmental approval, SA Offshore Windfarm Pty Ltd hope to commence construction in summer 2024/25 and be generating electricity in 2027. If constructed, it will have a generation capacity of up to 600MW, enough to power over 400,000 South Australian homes.

SA Offshore Windfarm Pty Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of UK-based Australis Energy Ltd which has project delivery experience in the UK. The company is focused on offshore opportunities in Australia and is planning to develop two further projects, one each in Victoria and Western Australia.

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