The project is an offshore windfarm, generating electricity that will be fed into the Victorian electricity grid within the National Electricity Market (NEM) using both subsea and overhead transmission cables.
If constructed, it will comprise up to 62 offshore wind turbine generators (WTGs) with supporting offshore and onshore electrical assets to safely transfer energy generated by the wind farm to the existing electricity network.
The size of individual WTGs is yet to be determined, with an anticipated capacity ranging between 8 MW and 15 MW. The preferred turbines are the larger (15 MW) WTGs, as fewer will be required (33), which will result in less construction activity and reduced visual impact.
The Victorian Offshore Windfarm project is being developed by VIC Offshore Windfarm Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of UK-based Australis Energy Ltd.
Subject to the necessary consents and permits being obtained, the project will be located approximately 5.5km off the coast, 25km west of Portland.
If constructed, it will have a generation capacity of up to 495 MW, enough to power over 330,000 Victorian homes.
The objectives of the project are:
The outcomes of the project will include:
The project will support the Victorian Government’s target of 50% renewables by 2030.
The environmental impacts of the project will be subject to assessment under the Victorian Environment Effects Act 1978. We expect that the Victorian Minister for Planning will determine that an Environment Effects Statement (EES) is required.
We will also require planning approval under the Victorian Planning and Environment Act 1987, a Cultural Heritage Management Plan (CHMP) under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006, and consent under the Marine and Coastal Act 2018.
The project will also require approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) for impacts to matters of national environmental significance (MNES) and Commonwealth marine areas.
Subject to planning and environmental approval, we hope to commence construction in summer 2024/25 and be generating electricity by the summer 2026/27 peak period.
Environmental, social and governance factors are at the heart of the work of Australis Energy Ltd and its subsidiary VIC Offshore Windfarm Pty Ltd.
Achieving and maintaining the highest standards in health and safety are core to our operations. We are committed to diversity and gender inclusivity, alongside the overall physical and mental health of our employees and consultants.
Critical to projects such as the VIC Offshore Windfarm is developing strategies to ensure that during the construction, operations and decommissioning we benefit the local and national economy without causing harm to the environment or local communities.
Our approach includes:
The increasing use of renewable power generation is mitigating the impact of climate change.
Lifecycle emissions for offshore wind farms are very low compared to other forms of electricity generation: approximately 1.5% of coal-fired generation or 2.5% for gas-fired generation.
The World Economic Forum, Davos Manifesto 2020 states, “The purpose of a company is to engage all its stakeholders in shared and sustained value creation. In creating such value, a company serves not only its shareholders, but all its stakeholders – employees, customers, suppliers, local communities and society at large.”
We are committed to developing social sustainability in partnership with all community stakeholder groups impacted by the project.
There will be wide-ranging socio-economic benefits to the community. During construction, many hundreds of temporary roles will be required for a period of up to around 24 months. The project will then employ up to 100 full-time, permanent staff in technical and administrative roles to manage and maintain the site.
In additional to the directly employed workforce, the operation of the windfarm will likely provide opportunities for indirect local employment via support-service contracts and other local expenditure.
We will use a local workforce where possible, with re-training as necessary, thereby enhancing the human capital in the region at the project’s conclusion.
Effective, strong and transparent governance structure are central to our management. This is particularly relevant to attracting the capital required to construct the windfarm and gaining and maintaining the respect of all shareholders and stakeholders in the through fair, honest and transparent dealings.
The offshore wind energy industry in Australia is still in its formative stages but has the potential to play a key role in energy transition, supporting renewable energy targets, and the development of clean tech industries.
There is a large project underway in the planning phase in Australia, Star of the South, offshore the south coast of Gippsland in Victoria. In Western Australia, there is a proposed Pilot Energy offshore windfarm project in Commonwealth waters near Geraldton.
In addition to the VIC Offshore Windfarm project, Australis Energy is planning to develop two further projects, one each in South Australia and Western Australia.
The offshore environment in Victoria offers an opportunity to tap into a more powerful and consistent wind resource, with the potential to generate more electricity at a steadier rate than most other renewable energy sources.
The increasingly competitive nature of constructing windfarms offshore, combined with advancing turbine technology, has led to profound market growth internationally and lower generation costs which is set to continue over the next two decades.
The consistent, strong wind patterns offshore of Victoria provides tremendous opportunity to develop high capacity (and high-capacity factor) offshore wind near key transmission nodes.
To date, offshore windfarm development has focused on north-western Europe and East Asia.
In the northern hemisphere offshore wind is approaching 30GW (30,000MW) capacity from approximately 200 projects. A further approximately 25GW capacity is under construction with a further approximately 70GW approved for development.
Currently there are plans for additional projects in new areas including the US and Brazil.
The average size of projects has been increasing from less that 150MW to greater than 400MW, with several projects in north-western Europe being planned with 1,500MW (1.5GW) capacity.
Technology developments have led to major cost reductions with new projects independently profitable and large growth forecast over the next 30 years. During this period the capacity provided by offshore wind energy generation is expected to rise to 1,000GW globally -- more than 30 times the current capacity.
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