Following the passing of offshore wind legislation in Federal Parliament* the boom in this industry in Gippsland is taking off. There are now four companies with coal fired generator scale projects off the Gippsland coast – a location with the advantages of some of the best wind speeds in Australia and a close proximity to infrastructure. Just before Xmas Bluefloat Energy became the latest company to announce a 1300 MW offshore wind project in Gippsland although its exact location is not known.
Renew Economy noted Bluefloat’s “first project will be the Greater Gippsland Offshore wind project located within the Bass Strait. The project will seek to serve as a renewable energy replacement for the region’s brown coal power stations slated to close and take advantage of the established electricity network infrastructure in the region.”
The Victorian government is also promoting offshore wind with grants to three of these companies. The most advanced is the Star of the South – awarded $19.5 million for “pre-construction development activities for the 2200 MW project” -situated off the Ninety Mile beach in South Gippsland. The Star of the South is the oldest and most advanced of these projects.
The Macquarie Group’s Great Southern Offshore Wind Farm is a recipient of $16.1 million for “Pre-feasibility works to investigate the potential for a 1000 MW offshore wind farm off the Bass Coast. If constructed the project could result in a total investment of approximately $4.0 billion and the creation of over 1,500 jobs.
Flotation Energy’s Seadragon Offshore Wind Farm is a recipient of $2.3 million. Interestingly the grant is to complete “scoping studies and surveys for a 1500 MW offshore wind farm off the Gippsland coast (Seaspray), including working with oil and gas facility operators to assess the potential for onshore and offshore asset re-use”. The company noted the “Gippsland Offshore Wind Farm is a nationally significant energy transition project. It offers the potential for oil and gas asset re-use, re-purposing, and new employment for the capable local energy workforce. It will produce renewable baseload power to supply the grid and enable green hydrogen…projects to proceed.”
It estimated that there will be a total of over 7000 jobs during construction – not counting the latest Bluefloat Energy project. The projects take 6 years or more to come to fruition and there is a need for them to be fast tracked so that our brown coal fired generators can be retired much earlier than currently predicted. Unfortunately our local parliamentarians – both State and Federal – have been missing in action.
*this legislation was delayed for years by the Coalition government. See here.