SOUTH Gippsland Shire Council is actively promoting Barry Beach Marine Terminal and Port Anthony to state and federal governments and to renewable energy developers as the ideal operations base for wind farms off the Gippsland coast.
The Shire has produced a five-minute video featuring the two Corner Inlet ports and their convenient location to the proposed Gippsland Offshore Renewable Energy Zone out in Bass Strait and parallel to the coast from Port Albert to Lakes Entrance.
South Gippsland Shire Mayor Cr Nathan Hersey said the council “continues to advocate for the development and utilisation of the two ports at Barry Beach.”
In the video Cr Hersey says that, “Barry Beach Marine Terminal and Port Anthony have been operating for over 50 years, supporting oil and gas industries in Bass Strait.
“They are the only industrial ports within 10 hours’ sailing time of the Gippsland Offshore Renewable Energy zone,” he said.
“There is also a large parcel of land surrounding the ports [now] reclassified by the Council as Industrial 1-zoned land, which means a lot of the hard work has already been done, and the site is ready to be developed into a large-scale industrial park.”
Australia’s most advanced offshore wind project, Star of the South, has confirmed that both the Port of Hastings and “a Gippsland port” will play important roles in the proposed 2.2 gigawatt offshore wind farm’s construction and operation.
Star of the South has stated that “Barry Beach Marine Terminal and Port Anthony are options to host the project’s Gippsland Operations Base, where workers managing day-to-day wind farm construction and operations activities would be based.”
Cr Hersey said there is strong support for Barry Beach Marine Terminal and Port Anthony as Star of the South’s Gippsland Operations Base.
The Shire has hailed Star of the South’s interest in seeing some of their operations based out of Port Anthony and Barry Beach Marine Terminal in addition to Port Hastings.
“This news was welcomed by Council as we consider it the most appropriate and logical way to achieve employment benefits and economic success for our region,” Cr Hersey said.
“Their use has economic and environmental advantages and will help to minimise transport costs and maximise efficiencies.”
Star of the South has indicated that “around 200 long-term, skilled jobs are expected to be created and managed through the Gippsland Operations Base.”
Star of the South chief executive officer, Charles Rattray, welcomed the Victorian Government’s commitment to a dedicated Victorian renewable energy terminal at the Port of Hastings.
“Right now, no ports are set up to handle offshore wind, and securing this new facility would ensure Victoria remains the leader of offshore wind in Australia,” he said.
“The [proposed] Port of Hastings development will provide a fit-for-purpose facility that will meet the needs of this emerging industry.
“We’re very focused on delivering benefits to Gippsland, and our Gippsland Operations Base will bring long-term, good quality jobs and an economic boost to local towns and the region,” Mr Rattray said.
The Star of the South statement noted that a year-long analysis of port options had identified the new terminal planned for the Port of Hastings as the frontrunner to support major construction needs.
Geelong Port and the Port of Bell Bay in Tasmania also expected to play a role.
Hastings, Geelong and Bell Bay are described as “deep-water ports”, which can “cater for the large vessels needed to transport and install offshore wind infrastructure.”
Star of the South says it will “continue working with the five shortlisted ports (including Barry Beach Marine Terminal and Port Anthony) as the project moves into the next phase of development”.
The project has been developed under a Commonwealth Exploration Licence since 2019 and is currently in the advanced stages of feasibility studies and environmental assessments, targeting approvals around the middle of this decade and first power by the end of the decade.
Star of the South is backed by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), which claims to be one of the world’s leading clean energy investors, and Australian industry superannuation fund, Cbus Super.
In the Shire’s Barry Beach ports advocacy video, Cr Hersey says that “while we can appreciate that there are certain advantages to establishing a renewable energy terminal at Hastings to facilitate offshore wind [turbine] assembly, we believe that Barry Beach ports should also be utilised.
“The proximity of the Barry Beach ports to the offshore wind energy zone can help to minimise freight costs and maximise efficiencies,” he says.
“The use of these ports would also help to provide social, economic and employment benefits for coastal townships like Toora and Welshpool and also attract business and infrastructure benefits to the whole of South Gippsland.”
Shire CEO Kerryn Ellis says in the video that “we believe the development could help to develop local career pathways in the renewable energy sector, attract new industries to the area, provide import and export opportunities that would have state-wide benefits, and provide alternative freight options for Victoria and give Gippsland agricultural industries an opportunity to access new markets and a stable local workforce.
“Our support of the Barry Beach development is of course dependent on the completion of a rigorous environmental impact study, showing how any impacts to our natural environment could be effectively managed,” she said.
“Wilsons Promontory National Park and the RAMSAR site at Corner Inlet are much-loved natural attractions, and we would need to ensure that these environmentally sensitive areas others would not be adversely impacted.”
Shire Deputy Mayor Cr Clare Williams says in the video that “it’s all about economic prosperity. Ports at Barry Beach in South Gippsland can halve the travel time and considerably reduce the cost during the construction and maintenance.
“It’s an easy ‘yes’ from South Gippsland; we are here and ready to support the industry.”
Cr Mohya Davies says that the “council has a vested interest in protecting some of the most productive farming land in the country, and our pristine coast with our coastal villages, the council also has a vested interest to ensure that the best possible environmental outcomes are achieved.”
Cr Mick Felton says “it’s a no-brainer that we advocate for the Barry Beach and Port Anthony terminals.
“This will create jobs, economic growth for South Gippsland and reduce the overall cost to the project and the ongoing maintenance that will be required.”
Cr Scott Rae says, “off-shore wind; well, it’s coming, it’s on its way, and like all things renewable, it’s all about a lower carbon footprint and saving the planet.
“So, why wouldn’t it make sense to base the operations for the building of the offshore wind farms at Barry Beach and Port Anthony? There’s plenty of land there, there’s plenty of space. I’m going to tell you one thing, there’s plenty of wind in South Gippsland. I reckon it’s a great idea.”
See the full video at: