Offshore wind is a proven method of generating electricity, with offshore wind projects installed across Europe producing reliable and sustainable energy over the last 20-plus years. Asia and North America have also more recently adopted offshore wind energy production.
The Star of the South project involves the following main components:
Upgrades to ports to allow for construction, operation and maintenance may also be required.
The project is in the feasibility stage.
In March 2019, the Australian Government granted Star of the South an exploration licence, allowing the project team to carry out a range of site investigations. These investigations are assessing local wind, seabed and environmental conditions and will help to confirm if the project can go ahead.
A decision to construct the project will be made at a later stage, subject to Australian and Victorian Government approvals.
The Star of the South project will go through comprehensive environmental assessment and approvals processes, required by the Australian and Victorian governments.
We expect the environmental assessment process will take around two years.
In April 2020 we submitted referrals under the Environment Effects (EE) Act and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act to assess the project's construction and operation.
The Victorian Government has confirmed the project will undergo an Environment Effects Statement under the EE Act. The referral is published on the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning’s website.
The Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has confirmed that we’ll undergo an environmental impact assessment under the EPBC Act. Details about the referral are published on the Australian Government’s website by searching for referral number 2020/8650.
Site investigations - approved to proceed
In 2019, we submitted a referral under the EPBC Act to assess our geophysical and geotechnical investigations.
The Australian Government has determined that the site investigation activities are not a controlled action if undertaken in a particular manner.
The referral is published on the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment's website by searching for referral number 2019/8525.
As there are no existing offshore wind projects in Australia, we're working with government on how we can best investigate and develop the project.
We currently hold an exploration licence to undertake investigations off the south coast of Gippsland.
To build and operate an offshore wind farm, we will need a commercial licence. The Australian Government is currently working on a new regulatory framework to enable offshore clean energy projects. We are closely following this process as it provides a pathway for constructing and operating offshore wind farms in Australia. Find out more on the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources website.
Other approvals and consents may also be needed. These will be identified through the assessment process and in consultation with regulatory agencies.
The Star of the South is a new frontier for Australia that would provide many benefits for local communities, Victoria and Australia for years to come. Based on initial investigations, the project would:
Based on our observations to date, the south coast of Gippsland is a great location for offshore wind due to strong and consistent winds, relatively low water depths and access to ports. A major advantage is that there is plenty of capacity in the existing electrical transmission network in the Latrobe Valley, meaning we can help to make the most of Victoria’s existing infrastructure.
We started site investigations in November 2019, to assess the feasibility of building and operating the project. These includes:
Throughout the feasibility phase, the project will progress through government planning approval processes, which is an essential step for any major project.