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Licences go to nation’s first offshore windfarms

Australia’s first offshore wind projects will start off Victoria after leading contenders were awarded feasibility licences.

Photo: AAP

Photo: AAP

Granting licences for the nation-leading Gippsland zone, Energy Minister Chris Bowen said offshore wind would be “energy rich and jobs rich” for six development zones around Australia.

“That’s why major Australian energy users – from Alcoa in Portland, to Bluescope in the Illawarra, to Tomago in the Hunter – say that offshore wind is vital to their energy future,” he will tell a conference in Melbourne on Wednesday.

The proposed Gippsland projects alone could generate more than 15,000 jobs during construction and another 7500 ongoing jobs, he said.

Eyeing at least two gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2032, 4GW by 2035 and 9GW by 2040, Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the zone would be key to the state’s renewable energy transition.

Those given the green light include Australia’s most advanced project Star of the South as well as High Sea Wind, Gippsland Skies, Blue Mackerel North, Kut-Wut Brataualung and Orsted’s Gippsland 01.

Six more were in line for the licences subject to further engagement with traditional owners, Bowen will say.

These include Iberdrola’s Aurora Green, Gippsland Dawn, Navigator North Project, Orsted’s Gippsland 02, Kent Offshore Wind and the Great Eastern Offshore Wind Farm Project.

Together, the 12 projects would generate 25GW of electricity, or more than 10 times AGL’s Loy Yang A coal-fired power plant when operational.

“Even just some of that potential will make a substantial contribution to filling the gap left by coal in Victoria and across the NEM (national electricity market),” according to Bowen.

The licences allow developers to do environmental assessments, geotechnical surveys and obtain approvals before a commercial licence for generating electricity can be considered, with the red tape usually requiring at least seven years to get to first wind.

“It will rightly be some time before the projects I’m announcing today receive the final tick,” Bowen will say.

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He also released further details in a capacity investment scheme that is bringing on 32GW of new reliable renewable power, and the offshore wind program.

Successful bidders have been shortlisted for the Victoria-South Australia tender to provide an additional 600MW of capacity by 2030.

A massive oversubscription of bids totalling 19,000MW of capacity submitted showed “exceptionally strong investment appetite plus industry confidence” in the scheme, he said.

– AAP

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