Step Forward For Proposed Offshore Windfarm
The Commonwealth has approved a deed of licence to allow Offshore Energy Pty Ltd (OEPL) to undertake resource exploration for an offshore wind farm.
The five year licence will allow OEPL to undertake exploration in Commonwealth waters about eight to 13km off the Gippsland coast in Victoria. The offshore wind sector has grown rapidly internationally, but there are no offshore wind farms in Australia.
OEPL’S planned Star of the South wind farm involves installation of wind turbines off the south coast of Gippsland, due south of towns such as Port Albert and Yarram, with submarine cables from the wind farm perimeter to the Gippsland coast. It also anticipates upgrades to existing ports to allow for the farm’s construction, operation and maintenance. The project has been in development since 2012.
Through the licence, OEPL will be allowed to undertake activities to assess wind resources and sea bed conditions to better understand whether an offshore farm is technically feasible.
OEPL has not been given any rights to develop or operate an offshore wind farm under this licence. The licence requires OEPL to undertake extensive consultation with the community and industry before undertaking any activities.
“We’re excited to start the next phase of our work – we’ve done a lot of background studies and look forward to getting out there and further understanding the marine environment,” said Star of the South CEO, Andy Evans.
“While it’s still early days for the project, these crucial investigations will help us move forward and understand how we might progress an offshore wind project in Australia.”