Australia's Star of the South has entered a A$43.1 million ($31.12 million) partnership with the state of Victoria's government to develop the country's first offshore wind farm, the company said on its website Nov. 23.
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At full capacity the wind farm, up to 25 km off Gippsland's south coast near Port Albert, could reach 2.2 GW and provide 20% of Victoria's energy needs, the developer said.
"This is an important step forward for offshore wind in Australia," said Star of the South CEO Casper Frost Thorhauge. "This partnership will enable us to keep investing where its most needed, while ensuring benefits for government and the community through knowledge-sharing."
The partnership will see Star of the South invest A$23.6 million and Victoria A$19.5 million in onshore and offshore geotechnical investigations, transmission design, industry development and stakeholder engagement. Investigations at sea started in 2019 after the project was granted an exploration license.
"If Star of the South is approved and proceeds to construction, the project could start construction as early as 2025 with full power toward the end of the decade," the company said.
It would connect to the grid in the Latrobe Valley, one of the strongest points in the National Electricity Market, it said.
"We've looked at 30 years of historical data from the Bureau of Metrology which shows a link between strong winds in Bass Strait [off Gippsland] and heatwaves, when demand for electricity is high," the company said.
The maximum 200-turbine project is jointly owned by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Australian Founders.
The project had the potential to contribute to a clean energy hub in Gippsland, boosting manufacturing capabilities and building exports from other technologies like hydrogen, Star of the South said on its website.
Platts assessed the price of Victorian electrolysis-derived hydrogen at $3.53/kg (PEM electrolysis, including capex) on Nov. 22. This compared to an assessment of $12.54/kg for comparable hydrogen in Japan, a target export market for Australia.