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Friday, June 02, 2017

Proposal for first offshore windfarm has 250 turbines off Victorian coast

Project would generate 12,000 jobs in construction phase and 300 ongoing, says proponent Offshore Energy If approved the offshore windfarm would have 250 turbines built within a 574 sq km area off the coast of Gippsland in Victoria. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images View more sharing options Shares 714 Comments 169 Melissa Davey Friday 2 June 2017 14.40 AEST Last modified on Friday 2 June 2017 14.41 AEST The first serious proposal for an Australian offshore windfarm will see up to 250 turbines built within a 574 square kilometre area off the coast of Gippsland in eastern Victoria if approved. Offshore Energy has been working with the federal government to get the rights to investigate the feasibility of constructing the project, including planning and environmental studies. The plan was unveiled at a Victorian government new energy technology roundtable on Friday, and Offshore Energy’s managing director, Andy Evans, said preliminary planning and environmental studies had been carried out. As the US stumbles on the Paris accord, Turnbull must step up for the future Katharine Murphy Read more Under the proposal, the windfarm would generate about 12,000 jobs during the construction phase and 300 ongoing jobs; have a total capacity of at least 2,000MW; and provide about 18% of Victoria’s power usage, or enough to power 1.2m homes. It would also reduce carbon emissions by about 10.5m tonnes a year, the proposal states. Evans emphasised that the project, called “Star of the South,” was in its early stages. But if given the go-ahead it would deliver a high, consistent flow of electricity. “Even on current cost, offshore wind provides a new and exciting option for Australia’s energy capacity and security,” he said. “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, he said. The Victorian government has backed the proposal, saying it hoped the windfarm could be generating power in time to contribute to the state government’s renewable energy target of 40% by 2025. The state’s energy minister, Lily D’Ambrosio, said a renewable power generator of the size proposed would drive down electricity prices, and that the government would support Offshore Energy wherever it could to progress feasibility studies. “Offshore wind would add to Victoria’s system capacity and security as Australia transitions to a more diverse energy mix,” she said, It had previously been thought that Australia’s continental shelf was too steep for the economics of offshore windfarms to be feasible, the chief executive of Environment Victoria, Mark Wakeham, said. Donald Trump confirms US will quit Paris climate agreement Read more “The fact that a company is now investing in trials and studies for a 2,000MW windfarm shows how much the economics has changed with cheaper, larger wind turbines making wind power a more affordable energy source than new gas or coal-burning power stations,” he said. “This is an exciting proposal, though one that will need to demonstrate it does not impact on marine life and brings benefits to the region.” Advertisement He said the potential the windfarm offered for jobs and affordable energy revealed why the US president, Donald Trump, was “shooting himself and his country in the foot” by proposing to withdraw from the Paris agreement. “Donald Trump, as deluded as he is, cannot stop the physics of catastrophic climate change, and cannot change the economics which is now seeing fossil fuel power stations replaced with renewable energy around the world,” Wakeham said. The leader of the Victorian Greens, Greg Barber, also welcomed the windfarm proposal, saying it would displace high-polluting brown coal generators from Victoria’s electricity grid. “Coal is dying out quickly as clean energy takes over,” Barber said. “The clock is already ticking for Yallourn [power station], and every new wind turbine built will hasten its closure. “The government needs to come up with a plan to manage the closure of Victoria’s remaining brown coal plants.” Since you’re here … … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Guardian than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too. If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps to support it, our future would be much more secure. Become a supporter Make a contribution Topics Energy Victoria Energy (Environment) Labor party Victorian politics Australian Greens news

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