Victorian-based developer Offshore Energy is planning the development of Australia’s first offshore wind farm off the coast of Gippsland, eastern Victoria.

The company will present at a Victorian Government New Energy Technology Roundtable with key community and government stakeholders at Federation University, Churchill, in Gippsland on Friday June 2.

Offshore Energy has been working with the Commonwealth government to establish the appropriate rights in order to investigate the feasibility of constructing the project.

An extensive and positive preliminary planning and environmental study has already been undertaken by leading global engineering firm WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff.

Development of the Star of the South Energy Project is at an early stage but as currently proposed would:

  • Have a feasibility phase of at least three years;
  • Have a total investment value about $8 billion, including potentially half local content;
  • Generate about 12,000 direct and indirect jobs during the construction phase and 300 ongoing jobs;
  • Include up to 250 turbines within a 574-square-kilometre area in Commonwealth waters off the coast of Gippsland;
  • Have a total capacity of at least 2,000MW;
  • Connect to existing infrastructure in the Latrobe Valley via undersea and underground transmission cables;
  • Deliver about 8,000GWh of electricity a year, about 18% of Victoria’s power usage or enough to power 1.2 million homes, and;
  • Reduce carbon emissions by about 10.5 million tonnes per year.

Preliminary analysis of the proposed site off the coast of Gippsland shows high-capacity for reliable power generation.

Offshore Energy managing director Andy Evans said that offshore wind’s natural higher capacity factor and more constant generation would benefit electricity system capacity and security as Australia transitions to a more diverse energy mix.

“When placed in the right wind conditions like those off the coast of Gippsland, offshore wind delivers a high, consistent flow of electricity.”

The company has commenced a comprehensive stakeholder engagement process.

“A project of the size and significance of Star of the South has a large number and diversity of important stakeholders and we recognise the importance of early and sincere consultation.”

Evans said the delivered cost of electricity from offshore wind had plummeted in recent years.

“Even on current cost, offshore wind provides a new and exciting option for Australia’s energy capacity and security. We expect technology and installation costs to continue to come down.”

Offshore Energy is in advanced discussions with local and international investors with experience in offshore wind development and investment in large-scale energy and infrastructure projects.

Evans said the project had the potential to play a major role in transitioning the Gippsland economy, place downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices, and improve power system security and reliability.

“Our project provides an opportunity for Australia to meet a number of energy security, economic and environmental objectives and, importantly, creates large and sustainable opportunities for the local community.”