Funding boost for three Australian offshore wind projects

The government of Victoria, Australia has announced a $40 million funding boost for three offshore wind projects. The funding boost will support feasibility studies and pre-construction development, including environmental assessments.

The Andrews Labor Government claims the three sites have the potential to create up to 5,600 jobs, bring more than $18 billion in new investment to Victoria and power around 3.6 million homes.  The three projects are being developed by Star of the South, Macquarie Group and Flotation Energy.

Premier Daniel Andrews commented: “Victoria is the clean energy capital of Australia – we’ve led the way on renewables, created 24,000 jobs with our VRET target alone, supported a thriving supply chain of businesses and attracted billions in investment.”

“Offshore wind is the next step to create thousands of high skilled jobs, and we know we’re ready with a highly skilled workforce able to step into them.”

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said: “This is the largest single offshore wind announcement in Australia’s history and places Victoria at the forefront of this pivotal new sector.”

“Offshore wind projects have the potential to create gigawatts of reliable, renewable energy and help us deliver on our ambitious target to halve emissions by 2030.”

The Star of the South will receive $19.5 million to support pre-construction development activities for an offshore wind farm off the Gippsland coast. If built to its full, proposed scale, it would have up to 2.2GW of capacity which is expected to power nearly 20 per cent of Victoria’s energy needs.

Star of the South CEO, Casper Frost Thorhauge commented: “This is an important step forward for offshore wind in Australia – this partnership will enable us to keep investing where its most needed, while ensuring benefits for government and the community through knowledge-sharing.”

“We welcome the Victorian Government’s funding commitment and thank them for their leadership and partnership to progress the development of a local offshore wind industry.”

“Star of the South would continue Gippsland’s proud history of power generation into the future and make Victoria the home of offshore wind in Australia.”

“Governments around the world are looking to offshore wind to power their energy systems into the future and Victoria is leading the way – attracting investment and creating jobs for workers in the regions.”

Flotation Energy will receive $2.3 million for scoping studies and surveys for its 1.5GW Seadragon offshore wind farm off the coast of Gippsland. The 1.5GW Seadragon Offshore Wind project is situated adjacent to oil and gas platforms in Bass Strait, off Victoria’s Gippsland coast, between Seaspray and Golden Beach. Development of the 1.5GW bottom fixed project started in early 2019 with construction expected to commence in 2027/28. Two options are being explored that offer flexibility in project  design and siting and maximise opportunities for oil and gas asset reuse. Deeper areas may support use of floating wind turbines in the future.

Tim Sawyer, Flotation Energy’s Operations Director, said, “We are very pleased at our success. This is a major step forward for our $6 billion Seadragon project and great news for the local community in Gippsland”.

“Offshore wind is a mature and competitive technology with a bright future in Australia. The Victoria Government's Energy Innovation Fund, along with the passage of the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Bill, gives us the confidence to accelerate the development of our Seadragon offshore windfarm. We look forward to working with Government, local businesses and communities to build a strong offshore wind industry in Australia that can deliver cost competitive and reliable electricity, reduced emissions and deliver significant regional economic opportunities”

Macquarie Group will receive $16.1 million to facilitate initial development stages of its 1GW Great Southern Offshore Wind Farm offshore wind farm off the Bass Coast.  If constructed the project could result in a total investment of approximately $4.0 billion and the creation of over 1,500 jobs.

For more information on offshore wind farms worldwide, click here.