A Scottish offshore wind company Flotation Energy has a project on the drawing board for Gippsland. It joins the Star of the South as the second major offshore project for the region. The company website notes that this “is a 1,500MW energy transition project. It will be located in the Bass Strait, off the Ninety Mile Beach coastline. The electricity will be exported to the Latrobe Valley, where there is a strong electricity grid, due to the presence of ageing coal power stations.”
Flotation Energy is a major offshore wind developer in the UK working on 9 projects around the globe promoting the advantages of offshore wind, and in particular floating offshore turbines. They note that “Floating offshore wind is a simple concept with a big future. It means that you can take wind turbines into deeper waters, where the winds are stronger and more reliable. Further offshore, the wind turbines have less environmental and visual impact. This means that floating wind is popular with politicians and local communities. It has a very big role to play if governments are to achieve their net zero targets. The global potential for floating wind is enormous.”
Their website emphasizes the need for climate action. “The threat of climate change is the biggest challenge facing our planet. Urgent action is required, from governments and business as well as from local communities and individuals. We have seen the growing extremes of climate change having a huge impact, with lives being lost and many communities threatened by worsening storms and floods, heat waves and droughts. The poor, disadvantaged and vulnerable often suffer the most. Now is the time for bold action.”
The company predicts the rapid expansion of offshore wind. “This rapid expansion has been driven by the increasing need for de-carbonisation to tackle climate change and achieve net zero targets. Energy security, job creation and economic growth potential are also major considerations. The cost of offshore wind has fallen dramatically, aided by stable energy policy, technology innovation including larger turbines, economies of scale and less expensive finance.”
With Star of the South they could replace two of the remaining Latrobe Valley coal fired generators. The ocean they would occupy would appears to be further east that the Star of the South and perhaps further offshore in deeper water. Both the construction phase and ongoing maintenance will be a huge boon to local economies.
Unfortunately neither our local members (State and Federal) or the media have little to say on these projects (see blog on delays here). The delay on these projects appears deliberate and due to the influence of the fossil fuel industry. Climate action now requires offshore wind enabling legislation in Federal parliament and for all governments to put these projects into fast forward mode.