THERE is a lot of buzz around Gippsland regarding the establishment of an offshore wind farm for waters off Victoria’s Gippsland coast.
The general feeling is one of optimism with South Gippsland Shire Council Mayor, Ray Argento, stating that although it will take some years to come to fruition it is great news for Gippsland.
“Council is excited to find out more about the proposal, which is still in the initial stages of investigation. We expect to be briefed by the developer, Offshore Energy, in the coming weeks and will be particularly keen to hear how the project will impact on our area and what the economic benefits may be for the South Gippsland community. We will watch with interest as Offshore Energy works through a rigorous review process,” Ray said.
The Andrews Labor Government has also welcomed the news as the proposal includes up to 250 wind turbines within a 574-square kilometre area, which would deliver around 8,000GWh of electricity per year.
This is approximately 18% of Victoria’s power usage or enough to power 1.2 million homes. Victorian based Offshore Energy has been working with the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments to progress the proposal to a formal feasibility assessment of the project.
If successful, the project would generate investment of around $8 billion, create 12,000 jobs during the construction phase and 300 ongoing operational and maintenance jobs. The project would be located between 10 and 25 kilometres off the Gippsland coastline.
It’s anticipated the project will have a feasibility phase of at least three years and if progressed would connect to existing infrastructure in the Latrobe Valley via undersea and underground transmission cables.
Offshore Energy has a memorandum of understanding with the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments, which, if the project receives the appropriate rights from the Commonwealth Government to commence exploration activities, will assist with progressing the permitting process for this project. If the project goes ahead, it is hoped the windfarm could be generating power in time to contribute to the Labor Government’s Renewable Energy Target of 40% by 2025.
“Offshore wind would add to Victoria’s system capacity and security as Australia transitions to a more diverse energy mix,” said Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio.”
The Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing agrees, “This is an incredibly exciting proposal that has the potential to be a real game-changer in Gippsland – not only in terms of power generation, but also for local jobs and economic growth,” she said.
The National’s Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien MP looks forward to the feasibility process proceeding and local communities and industry groups having the opportunity to learn more about it.
“The Star of the South offshore windfarm proposal announced today is a very interesting concept that could be good for Gippsland jobs and economic activity and that’s something we certainly need. If it proceeds, there could be great benefits for jobs in South Gippsland.
”I have been briefed on the project but it’s very early days and there are still a lot of questions to be answered and processes to go through, including environmental assessments and the like,” he said.