Star of the South: the next steps

Offshore wind turbines off Copenhagen, Denmark.

DRAFT scopes of the Environmental Impact Statement and Environmental Effects Statement for Australia’s first offshore wind project, Star of the South, off Port Albert, are available for public review and comment until midnight on July 27.
Star of the South chief development officer Erin Coldham said the project was using leading technology to collect important data on migrating bird flight paths to inform the project’s environmental assessments and design.
Specialist equipment with a state-of-the-art high-resolution camera is capturing data on the types of birds and their behaviours in and around the proposed site off the south coast of Gippsland.
Ms Coldham said this was the first time in the world the custom-built measuring technology was being used for monthly baseline surveys.
Star of the South is being assessed through a coordinated Environmental Impact Statement and Environmental Effects Statement process – an assessment of potentially significant environmental, social, economic and planning aspects of a project.
These documents set out what Star of the South is required to study, assess and report on.
The federal government’s Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment has prepared draft ‘assessment guidelines’ for the Environmental Impact Statement which can be viewed at epbcnotices.environment.gov.au/referralslist/ (ref. 2020/8650).
The Victorian government’s Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning has prepared draft ‘scoping requirements’ for the Environmental Effects Statement.
This can be found at planning.vic.gov.au/environment-assessment/browse-projects/projects/star-of-the-south-offshore-wind-farm.
People with an interest in how potential impacts from the project’s construction, operation and decommissioning will be assessed, are being encouraged to review these draft scopes and participate in the formal government consultation processes.
Hard copies of the documents are available to view at the project’s Gippsland community hub at 310 Commercial Rd, Yarram, Mondays and Thursdays between 10am and 4pm.
Star of the South plans to utilise Bass Strait’s strong offshore wind with turbines in the sea and underground cables connecting to the Latrobe Valley, powering Victorian homes.
If built to its full capacity, proponents say it would generate up to 2.2 gigawatts of clean energy and “continue Gippsland’s proud history of power generation into the future”.
To find out more about the project or to sign up to receive monthly updates, visit starofthesouth.com.au.
Ms Coldham said she encouraged people with an interest in how the project would be assessed to participate in the formal government feedback process.
“Offshore wind is a proven energy technology that can harness a stronger wind resource and drive local jobs in rural areas, boosting regional economies,” she said.