JASON Harding from TEK-Ocean at Barry Beach says he is very excited to be working with the Star of the South on what could be the biggest offshore wind project in the southern hemisphere supplying around 18% of the State’s electricity needs helping to protect against blackouts in summer.
“TEK-Ocean is assisting with equipment installation and ongoing maintenance works,” he said.
They are working closely with Project Manager Clement Le Gall from specialist wind and wave contractor Akrocean who shipped the equipment to Australia from Europe last month.
Upwards of 8 local people are already employed and Jason says they are also utilising local cranes, trucks and boats.
“We are amongst the first in Australia to be trained to service the wind and wave monitoring equipment while it’s out at sea,” Jason said.
“The project has the potential to create thousands of jobs during construction and hundreds in operation, injecting investment into Gippsland’s economy.”
The Star of the South project this week started deploying wind and wave monitoring equipment from Port Welshpool to collect important data on the wind profile and conditions in Bass Strait.
Clement explained that two wind measuring devices, known as floating LiDARs, and a wave buoy will be out at sea for several years along with other investigations, including seabed studies to confirm sea depths and conditions, as well as baseline environmental surveys for marine life and birds.
Next year, the project will also start soil testing to understand ground conditions in the area. These investigations will help confirm the project’s feasibility and inform early planning.
In further news, Casper Frost Thorhauge joins the Star of the South as the project’s new CEO with extensive experience in developing and delivering offshore wind projects in Europe and Asia.
“I’m excited to work on Australia’s first proposed offshore wind project – the Star of the South,” he said. “We’re pleased to be supporting local Gippsland workers during this early development phase and look forward to more opportunities to invest in the region as we continue our studies.”
Most recently, Mr Thorhauge led the multi-billion-dollar 900-megawatt Greater Changhua 1 and 2a Offshore Wind Farms in Taiwan. He has also held senior management roles and board positions with one of Denmark’s biggest energy companies, where he successfully led a number of offshore wind projects through their development phase totalling more than $10 billion.
The Star of the South involves wind turbines out at sea generating electricity and connecting to the network in the Latrobe Valley.
If the project is feasible and developed to its full potential, it could provide around 2,000 megawatts of power into the grid by 2027.
For more information visit www.starofthesouth.com.au/getinvolved.