Local offshore wind projects power up with $40 million

Flotation Energy will receive $2.3 million for scoping studies and surveys for its 1.5GW ‘Seadragon’ offshore wind farm, planned off the coast between Seaspray and Golden Beach. Image: Flotation Energy

Three major offshore wind projects in Gippsland — two off the coast of Wellington Shire — will receive a state government funding boost of $40 million from the Energy Innovation Fund.
Flotation Energy (with its ‘Seadragon’ site proposed to be built offshore of Seaspray and
Golden Beach), Star of the South (off Port Albert), and Macquarie Group (off Bass Coast) have the combined potential to create up to 5600 jobs, bring more than $18 billion in new investment to Victoria and power about 3.6 million homes.
Wild winds off Victoria’s coastline − which among the strongest in Australia and the world − could result in the state becoming an offshore wind powerhouse, driving economic development and helping Victoria reach its target of 50 per cent renewable energy
by 2030.
The funding boost will support feasibility studies and pre-construction development, including environmental assessments, and adds to $96 million the companies are already spending on these projects.
The Star of the South will receive $19.5 million to support pre-construction development activities for an offshore wind farm off the Port Albert coast.
If built to its full, proposed scale, it would have up to 2.2GW of capacity – enough power to provide nearly 20 per cent of Victoria’s energy needs.
Flotation Energy will receive $2.3 million for scoping studies and surveys for its 1.5GW
‘Seadragon’ offshore wind farm near oil and gas platforms in Bass Strait, off Wellington Shire’s coast between Seaspray and Golden Beach.
Macquarie Group will receive $16.1 million to facilitate initial development stages of a 1GW
offshore wind farm off the Bass Coast.
The funding will help each company conduct studies to determine the best location of each
project.
All major projects will require a rigorous community consultation process and will be subject to a range of regulatory approvals, including environmental impact assessments.
Premier Daniel Andrews said Victoria was the “clean energy capital of Australia”.
“…we’ve led the way on renewables, created 24,000 jobs with our Victorian Renewable Energy Target target alone, supported a thriving supply chain of businesses and attracted billions in investment,” he said.
Energy, Environment and Climate Change Minister, Lily D’Ambrosio, said the funding was
the single largest offshore wind announcement in Australia’s history.
“Offshore wind projects have the potential to create gigawatts of reliable, renewable energy and help us deliver on our ambitious target to halve emissions by 2030,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.
The announcement was welcomed by Environment Victoria and the Clean Energy Council.
Environment Victoria chief executive, Jono La Nauze, said the funding helped to “walk the talk” of providing a just transition for coal workers and their families by providing much-needed clean energy employment opportunities for communities in Gippsland and beyond.