May 02 2024

Offshore wind feasibility licenses have been granted – what are the proposals and who’s behind them?

The Federal Government has announced the first proposed offshore wind projects to receive a feasibility licence for development of projects in the Gippsland Offshore Wind Zone.

These are:

  • High Sea Wind Pty Ltd
  • Gippsland Skies Pty Ltd
  • Blue Mackerel North Pty Ltd
  • Star of the South Wind Farm Pty Ltd
  • Kut-Wut Brataualung Pty Ltd
  • Ørsted Offshore Australia 1 Pty Ltd (Gippsland 01)

 

Six more companies have progressed through assessment and will now undertake First Nations consultation. They are:

  • Iberdrola Australia OW 2 Pty Ltd (Aurora Green)
  • Greater Gippsland 2 OWP Project Pty Ltd (Gippsland Dawn)
  • Navigator North Project Pty Ltd
  • Ørsted Offshore Australia 1 Pty Ltd (Gippsland 02)
  • Kent Offshore Wind Pty Ltd, and
  • Great Eastern Offshore Wind Farm Project Co Pty Ltd.

The proposals were selected from a total of 37 that were put forward for the Gippsland offshore wind zone, which was declared by the Federal Government at the end of 2022. The Gippsland Offshore wind zone covers 15,000 square kilometers offshore from Lakes Entrance in the east to south of Wilsons Promontory in the west (see map below). According to the government it has the potential to host up to 25 GW of capacity.

The feasibility licences that have now been granted allow the proponents to proceed with detailed studies and assessments and last for seven years (see process below).

Source: DCC

 

During the feasibility licence stage, licence holders will have to undertake detailed environmental assessments, including potential approvals under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Before any construction can start, feasibility licence holders are also expected to engage and involve both existing marine users and the community (wherever possible) in the design of their projects, and consult and engage with First Nations groups. Detailed management plans will also need to be developed and approved by the Offshore Infrastructure Regulator. Those plans are expected to explain how a project will coexist with current users, such as shipping and fisheries.

Below we outline who the projects and proponents to receive the first feasibility licences are.

High Sea Winds Pty Ltd

The project is a 1.28 GW bottom-fixed offshore wind and has a feasibility licence for a 150 square kilometre areas off the Gippsland coast.  The project is expected to be able to produce the equivalent of a year’s electricity for 1 million homes.

About Ocean Winds

High Seas Winds was the bidding company for Ocean Winds. Ocean Winds is a joint venture between EDP Renewables and ENGIE. Ocean Winds has almost 18 GW of secured offshore wind projects internationally. EDP Renewables recently acquired local renewables developer ITP Development and has 1.5 GW pipeline of wind, solar and storage projects. ENGIE, which has operated in Australia since 1996, is targeting 3 GW of renewables by 2030 locally.

Gippsland Skies Offshore Wind

A bottom-fixed 2.5 GW project. The project expects to be able to produce enough electricity to power up to 1.4 million homes, equivalent to 17 per cent of Victoria’s 2023 electricity demand.

The proponents say the project could contribute $3.7 billion to the economy and provide 4700 direct jobs over the estimated 40-year life of the project, with around 2000 jobs in Gippsland.

About Gippsland Skies Offshore Wind

Gippsland Skies Offshore Wind is a consortium of local and international companies – Mainstream Renewable Power, Reventus Power, AGL Energy and DIRECT Infrastructure.

Mainstream Renewable Power is renewable energy company with a 23.9 GW portfolio across Europe, Latin America, Africa, and the Asia Pacific. Aker Horizons acquired a majority stake in Mainstream in 2021 and Mitsui & Co Ltd become a long-term strategic investor in 2022. Aker Offshore wind was integrated with Mainstream in the same year. It is currently developing 1.5 GW of floating offshore wind in Scotland and South Korea and 1.3 GW of fixed bottom offshore wind in Vietnam. Mainstream also has a pipeline of 1.5 GW onshore wind farm developments in central Queensland.

Reventus Power originates and invests in the development and management of offshore wind projects globally. It is a portfolio company of Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Investments’ Sustainable Energies group. CPP Investments describes itself as a leading global energy investor.

AGL Energy has Australia’s largest private electricity generation portfolio, including coal and gas-fired generation, renewable generation in wind, hydro and solar as well as storage and other firming technology, along with gas production and storage assets.

DIRECT Infrastructure is an Australian specialist offshore wind project developer.

Blue Mackerel North Pty Ltd

Blue Mackeral is a project backed by Parkwind, a Belgian offshore wind developer which was acquired by Japan’s JERA in 2023, Drillseach (Field Ops) Pty Ltd (which is a subsidiary of Beach Energy).

Parkwind’s current portfolio includes four offshore wind farms off the Belgian coast with 225 turbines with 1 GW of power capacity. an additional 4.5 GW in development.

JERA was established in 2015 “with the aim of creating a globally competitive energy company in Japan based on a comprehensive alliance between Tokyo Electric Power Company and Chubu Electric Power Company”.

Star of the South

It is a 2.2 GW proposed wind farm located 10 kilometers off the coast of Gippsland. This project is one of the two projects by developer Southerly Ten to have secured one of Australia’s first feasibility licenses, with it expected to be delivering power by 2030. The project is expected to power around 1.2 million homes across Victoria, with the potential to supply up to 20% of the state’s offshore wind target. This farm will be operational for 30 years, providing 2000 direct jobs in Victoria during construction, and 200 ongoing jobs.

About Southerly Ten

Southerly Ten is a Victorian-based developer who have been established by the Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP). CIP is the worlds largest fund manager dedicated to greenfield renewable energy investments and is a global leader in offshore wind, and partners with superannuation funds such as Cbus Super to help invest in the global energy transition. Southerly Ten aims to deliver 10 GW of offshore wind capacity across Australia and New Zealand. Two of their projects – Kut Wut Brataualung and Star of the South, are among the first of five offshore wind projects to be given feasibility licenses.

Kut-Wut Brataualung

It is a proposed 2.2 GW wind farm situated just over 45 kilometers from the southern-most tip of Wilsons Promontory. It is one of two projects being developed by Southerly Ten, with it still being in the early stages of development when compared to the Star of the South. The farm will generate enough electricity to power 1.2 million homes, as well as saving 8 million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually. If built to capacity, the project will create 6000 jobs, as well as 200 long-term positions during its operation. The project has been named in partnership with the Gunaikurni Land and Water Corporation (GLaWAC), recognizing a family group of the Brataualang people that lived in and around the area.

Ørsted Offshore Australia 1

It is a 2.7 GW project located 56 kilometers of the coast of Gippsland, Victoria. The project is one of two proposed by Danish group Ørsted, with it expected to be generating electricity by the early 2030s. Ørsted estimates this wind farm, when at full operation, could eventually power the equivalent of four million Australian homes, providing up to 25 per cent of the states offshore wind target. Additionally, the wind farm will save 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. This farm will be operational for 35 years and create up to 6,000 jobs during construction and 423 ongoing positions.

About Ørsted

Ørsted is a Danish organization who are the global leaders in offshore wind. In 1991, they built the world's first offshore wind farm in Denmark and one in every four offshore wind turbines in the world have been installed by them. To date, their wind farms generate enough electricity to power 15 million homes.

Gippsland offshore wind zone and proponents project areas

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