Labor accelerates development of offshore wind projects – Michmutters

Labor accelerates development of offshore wind projects

“We have some of the best wind resources in the world – just one rotation of one offshore wind turbine provides as much energy as an average rooftop solar installation generates in one day.”

Mr Bowen named the Hunter region and the Pacific Ocean region off the Illawarra in NSW, Portland in Victoria, the Bass Strait region off northern Tasmania and the region off Perth/Bunbury as the other areas for offshore wind development.

Years in the making

The announcement is a boost for Victoria, which has earmarked offshore wind as a critical source of zero-emission electricity generation to replace coal, but the development of the industry has been slow as regulators and politicians prepare legislation.

Earlier this year, Victoria set an aggressive target of generating about 20 per cent, or 2 gigawatts, of its energy needs from offshore wind within a decade. This climbs to 4GW by 2035 and 9GW by 2040 – a level that some say would further accelerate the demise of coal power.

The target is considered ambitious because such ventures can take years to develop, although many companies have quietly drawn up project plans.

Even Star of the South, Australia’s most advanced offshore wind project – owned by Danish fund Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, Australian superannuation fund Cbus and three local investors, including Andy Evans, Peter Sgardelis and Terry Kallis – is targeting the first generation by 2028.

“A local offshore wind sector will deliver a clean energy boost, cut emissions and create local jobs. It’s encouraging to see the government pushing ahead with offshore wind in Gippsland and keeping the momentum going,” said Star of the South acting chief executive Erin Coldham.

Star of the South will not be alone. Flotation Energy has proposed a 1500 MW offshore wind facility in Gippsland, while Corio Generation, a portfolio company of Macquarie’s Green Investment Group, has also announced a plan to build a 2.5GW wind project in Gippsland.

British renewable power generator and network operator SSE and Global Infrastructure Partners is also developing plans for Australia’s offshore wind market.

The offshore wind declaration caps a significant week for the new government, which is moving aggressively to legislate its climate agenda.

Australia passed legislation permitting offshore wind only last year, well behind other developed countries, and work on the mechanism for license applications was finalized in late April.

On Thursday, Mr Bowen declared that it was “just the beginning” after the government’s climate target legislation passed the House of Representatives.

He plans to release a discussion paper this month on the detailed design of the safeguard mechanism, as Labor pushes ahead with the development of its national electric vehicle strategy, a community battery program and establishing a $20 billion, off-budget “rewiring the nation” corporation.

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