Republished from Environment Connect Spring 23*
In a national first, an area off the Gippsland Coast has been proposed for development as an offshore renewable energy infrastructure area by the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.
This location has been selected because: it has strong, consistent winds; it is close to electricity markets and existing connections to the grid; industry has expressed interest in developing projects in the area; and the Victorian Government has prioritized the area for development of an offshore wind industry.
As Bass Strait approaches the end of its operational life as an oil and gas field, the opportunity exists to transition this location to renewable energy. The region has windy seas, extensive land resources, and existing grid infrastructure in the Latrobe Valley connected to the National Energy Market. In addition there is suitable geology in the Bass Strait, allowing for offshore wind turbines to drilled and grafted into the Gippsland seabed standing at 196 metres tall. This has implications for Gippsland and a skilled trained workforce is needed, as was discussed at the recent Gippsland New Energy Conference.
Commonwealth waters start three nautical miles from the coastline and extend to the boundary of Australia’s exclusive economic zone. The Bass Strait Gippsland region, has so far attracted more than 6,000MW of potential projects to the development pipeline. And the Victorian Government has identified offshore wind as a key part of their own clean energy transition and has set a target of 2 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2028, 4 GW by 2035, and 9 GW by 2040.