A SHINING STAR – Company reveals route from Bass Strait to the Valley

Michelle Slater

Star of the South has reached an “important milestone” by revealing its overland transmission route to plug in a two gigawatt offshore wind farm from Bass Strait into the Latrobe Valley.

Star of the South chief development officer Erin Coldham said they had spent the past 12 months looking at three potential routes before settling on the most technically feasible option.

The proposed route would come to shore at Reeves Beach and travel underground through Darriman, Giffard West and Hiamdale, and connect to either Hazelwood or Loy Yang.

Ms Coldham said this route would now be taken through to detailed planning, approvals and design stages with further community engagement.

She said they had chosen the route after discussions with landholders, who she promised would be offered “voluntary agreements” with the company.

“We have confirmed the route will take to detailed planning and design,” Ms Coldham said.

“On balance, the route we’ve selected for further investigation is the best overall outcome and we’re working with landholders whose property may be suitable to host the underground cables.”

Ms Coldham said the company had rejected other options which posed technical constraints or impacts on marine and state forest environments.

She said the proposed corridor would be about three kilometres wide with a 40-metre easement, using underground cables.

Overhead lines would be used where it was not technically feasible or where they would have a lower impact.

Star of the South is also talking to the Australian Energy Market Operators about grid connections, and which option would offer the best capacity.

“The great thing about the Latrobe Valley is there is a lot of capacity, since Hazelwood retired in 2017 and now Yallourn will exit in mid-2028, we feel there is the capacity there,” Ms Coldham said.

“It’s just a matter of which projects come in and out over the coming years, this can effect where we will connect.”

Star of the South is proposed to be located off the coast at McLaughlins Beach, and is in its early feasibility phase with site investigations and environmental studies underway.

Ms Coldham said the estimated $10 billion dollar project could offer thousands of local jobs in construction and turbine maintenance.

She said the amount of jobs would depend on the ultimate size of the project and they hoped to start construction by the middle of the decade.

Star of the South will be holding a community session at the Morwell Sunday Market on Sunday, March 28 from 8am to 1.30pm.