Renewables are increasingly making up a higher percentage of Australia’s grid and today the Victorian Government announced plans to deliver Australia’s first offshore wind farm. This will help the state reach its net-zero emission ambitions by 2050.
The Victorian Offshore Wind Policy Directions Paper, includes support for projects that will generate at least 2 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind by 2032, enough to power 1.5 million homes.
The first power from offshore wind is expected as soon as 2028 following a competitive process, and targets of 4 GW have been set for 2035 and 9 GW for 2040.
Opponents of renewables often point to the intermittent nature of renewables as a reason they can’t replace coal-fired power stations. While that’s true, by placing these wind farms at sea, it is expected they will produce energy more of the time than on loan.
Regardless of the location of the wind farm, this large growth in renewables, does present a great opportunity for battery storage to continue to play an important role in replacing existing baseload power provided by coal plants, particularly as they reach the end of their lifespan both technically and economically.
At the end of 2021, Victoria powered on their Big Battery, a 300MW grid-scale battery, made up of 212 Tesla Megapacks. As large as this is, it’s an order of magnitude to consider a Gigapack to backup the GW of energy set to come from this off-shore wind farm.
Winds off Victoria’s coastline are among the best in the world and the resource can support a thriving new industry, one the Government expects will create more than 6,000 jobs directly and indirectly through supply-chains, helping drive economic development and helping Victoria halve emissions by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
“Today, Victoria has the lowest power prices in five years and the greatest annual increase in renewable energy of any state, ever. It’s clear that when it comes to wholesale energy reform, the states are leading the way.
We’re not just talking about transitioning to clean energy, we’re actually delivering it – along with thousands of jobs in one of the world’s fastest growing industries and cheaper bills for millions of households.”Premier Daniel Andrews
Studies show the state has the potential to support an enormous 13 GW of capacity from coastal regions by 2050 – five times the state’s current renewable energy generation.
At 13 GW, these offshore wind projects would generate up to 6,100 jobs in the development and construction phase and in ongoing operational jobs.
In November last year, Victoria pledged approximately $40 million under the Energy Innovation Fund to fund feasibility studies and pre-construction development for three major offshore wind proposals: Star of the South, Macquarie Group and Flotation Energy.
Together, those three projects could generate 4.7 GW of new capacity, power around 3.6 million homes and bring more than $18 billion in new investment to Victoria.
The Government will now undertake an extensive consultation process to ensure that Traditional Owners, local communities and the industry collaborate on the design of the offshore wind program.
“Victoria’s offshore wind resources are officially open for business, but the real work starts now. We know it will take years to plan and develop the first tranche of wind projects in Australia, due to their complexity, scale, regulatory and infrastructure requirements – and we’re ready to start that journey today.”Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio
To read the directions paper visit energy.vic.gov.au/renewable-energy/offshore-wind.