News, Sustainability, Victoria

Australia’s offshore wind industry a step closer to reality

The Albanese Government has awarded the first feasibility licence to the Gippsland offshore wind area.

Six potential projects have been granted or offered feasibility licences, which means they can now commence the detailed assessment work to determine the feasibility of environmental studies and management plans.

These projects include High Sea Wind, Gippsland Skies, Blue Mackerel North, Kut-Wut Brataualung, Ørsted Offshore Australia 1 (Gippsland 01) and Star of the South Wind Farm.

Consultation with First Nations groups, communities, and marine users will continue throughout the feasibility licence process.

When feasibility is proven, developers can then apply for a commercial licence to build an offshore wind project to generate electricity commercially.

The Government intends to grant another six licences, subject to First Nations consultation.

The 12 projects in total could generate 25 GW of electricity which is enough to power the Gippsland region’s annual industrial consumption 100 times over.

The proposed projects could create over 15,000 jobs during construction and another 7,500 ongoing jobs.

Minister for climate change and energy Chris Bowen said Australia’s offshore wind industry presents a huge opportunity for the regions that have powered our country for generations.

“Granting feasibility licences is the next step to helping deliver a new clean energy industry for Australia, as well as future proof energy security and reliability for Victoria.

“I’ve awarded feasibility licences to projects that would bring the most rewards for Gippsland, its workforce and for our energy security,” Bowen said.

Victorian minister for energy and resources Lily D’Ambrosio said projects in the Gippsland offshore wind zone will be key to delivering the state’s renewable energy transition and meeting targets.

“We’re proud to be paving the way for the country’s first offshore wind farms which will harness our world class offshore wind resources and power homes and businesses across Australia with renewable energy.

“These offshore wind projects will also support thousands of jobs in Gippsland and across the supply chain – opening up new opportunities for skills development within the renewable energy industry,” D’Ambrosio said.

Monash University associate professor Behrooz Bahrani strongly supports the expansion of Australia’s offshore wind sector.

“Offshore wind projects like those in Gippsland are not just about producing energy; they represent a significant step in our energy transition, providing a more consistent power source compared to other forms of renewable energy.

“This initiative is not only pivotal for meeting our energy needs but is also a major contributor to regional economic growth through job creation and technological advancement,” said Bahrani.

Offshore wind represents the potential opportunity for regional Australia in both providing renewables to power homes and heavy industry while creating thousands of highly skilled and well-paid jobs.

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