Region’s windfarm boom

Photo: File

THREE more offshore windfarms are potentially headed for Gippsland waters as a new player in the local industry emerges.

Ocean Winds has expressed interest in developing offshore wind projects in the Bass Strait, capable of generating up to four gigawatts (GW) of electricity.

The story was broken by The Australian Financial Review on Tuesday, July 4.

Chief business development officer Rafael Munilla told AFR that Australia “ticks all the boxes” for the company, noting the quality of the wind resource, and government targets for offshore wind growth.

“We believe that entering into a market in an earlier stage could be good, because … we don’t see this as an opportunistic play; we are here not (only) for Victoria, but – fingers crossed – for more,” Mr Munilla said.

“We don’t know whether we will be awarded the three (projects) but … if we are awarded that we will be more than happy to deliver all three.”

According to AFR, up to 60 turbines of 300 metres in height would be installed as part of Ocean Winds’ offshore projects.

The turbines would be located 55 to 100 kilometres from the coastline to reduce their visibility.

The first of the projects is expected to develop up to 1.2 GW of power, the energy equivalent of 600,000 Victorian households.

Oceans Winds was founded in 2019 as a joint venture between Engie, which is headquartered in France, and Madrid-based EDP Renewables.

The company’s website lists projects under development in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Portugal, Poland and South Korea.

Mr Munilla told AFR that the company would be seeking local partners to provide expertise in the Australian market.

“Although we feel confident in developing these (projects) alone, it’s in our agenda to try and find an Australian partner,” he said.

Ocean Winds joins a crowded field of developers wanting to establish offshore wind farms in Gippsland.

Last month, it was revealed that a group of Australian and multinational companies – comprising Mainstream Renewable Power, Reventus Power, AGL and DIRECT Infrastructure – had submitted a feasibility licence application for a 2.5 GW offshore wind project in the Bass Strait.

Other developers who have expressed interest in the area are Star of the South, Floatation Energy, Corio Generation and BlueFloat Energy.

If approved, Ocean Winds expects the first of its offshore wind projects to be generating power by 2032.

Chief business development officer Rafael Munilla. // Photo: Ocean Winds

UPDATE: The Gippsland Times has received a media release from Ocean Winds, confirming it has applied to three areas in the Australian offshore wind tender off the coast of Victoria, for the development of offshore wind farms from both bottom-fixed and floating technologies.

“Based on our proven international expertise in delivering offshore wind projects with
concrete local returns, Ocean Winds is confident that the plan contained in our
applications will not only secure the first offshore wind farms in Australia, but also
deliver significant economic benefits to the region, including establishing a long-term
local offshore wind industry that will enhance Victoria as a Renewable Energy Supply
Chain Hub,” Ocean Winds CEO, Bautista Rodriguez said in a statement.

“Ocean Winds is committing on a long-term basis to help in the development of capabilities, skills, and knowledge within the existing and future workforce to answer regional, national, and international development of offshore wind energy.

“We firmly believe our three applications together represent an ideal pathway for the establishment of offshore wind in Australia.”