The Victorian Government is set to deliver Australia’s first offshore wind farms as part of a commitment to ensuring massive growth in this emerging renewable energy sector during the next decade.

The ambitious plan sees the state commit to delivering new minimum targets of 2GW of offshore wind by 2032 – enough to power 1.5 million homes – and 4GW by 2035, and 9GW by 2040.

The nation-leading policy is set out in the “Victorian Offshore Wind Policy Directions Paper”, and it aims to create more than 6000 renewables jobs.

“Victoria has the lowest power prices in five years, and the greatest annual increase in renewable energy of any [Australian] state ever,” said Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.

“It’s clear that when it comes to wholesale energy reform, the states are leading the way.

“We’re not just talking about transitioning to clean energy, we’re actually delivering it.”

Winds off Victoria’s coastline are among the world’s best for producing energy, and studies show the state has the potential to support 13GW of capacity from coastal regions by 2050, which is five times Victoria’s current renewable energy generation.

In November 2021, the Victorian Government pledged approximately $40 million as part of its Energy Innovation Fund to finance feasibility studies and pre-construction development for three major offshore wind proposals – Star of the South, Macquarie Group and Flotation Energy – which could generate 4.7GW of new capacity, power around 3.6 million homes, and bring more than $18 billion in new investment to Victoria.

The Star of the South project, off the coast of the Gippsland region, is currently the most advanced, and when complete the 2.2GW project could supply up to 20 per cent of Victoria’s electricity needs.

“Victoria’s offshore wind resources are officially open for business, but the real work starts now,” said Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio.

“We know it will take years to plan and develop the first tranche of wind projects in Australia, due to their complexity, scale, regulatory and infrastructure requirements, but we’re ready to start that journey.”

The Clean Energy Council has endorsed the Victorian Government’s vision for offshore wind energy generation.

“This announcement locks in a major offshore wind industry for Victoria,” says Clean Energy Council chief executive Kane Thornton. “Offshore wind is no longer a possibility, it’s a certainty.

“Victoria is leading the nation on offshore wind and is positioning itself to reap the benefits of being at the forefront of this game-changing industry.

“The Clean Energy Council is looking forward to working with the Victorian Government to get this critical industry into the fast lane, and to ensure these nation-leading targets are met.”

The US and UK have set strong targets for offshore wind by 2030 – 30GW and 40GW, respectively – so the costs that have restricted the development of the industry in Australia in the past will likely reduce in the coming decade.

“Offshore wind projects and their proximity to regions most impacted by the retirement of fossil fuel generators will provide critical job opportunities for workers and their communities,” says Thornton.

“With state government and industry working together, we can ensure a steady delivery of these commitments in a way that provides stability for local workers and suppliers.”