Australia grants feasibility licences for offshore wind farms

By Thomson Reuters Apr 30, 2024 | 11:09 PM

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia on Wednesday gave the go-ahead for six projects to study the feasibility of building wind farms in waters off its southern coast as it looks to ramp up renewable energy to meet its net zero emission target by 2050.

Six others could also win feasibility licenses once they complete consultations with Indigenous groups, Energy Minister Chris Bowen said.

The 12 projects, including proposals by wind giants Orsted and Iberdrola, off the state of Victoria would have generation capacity of 25 gigawatts (GW). That is more capacity than the state currently has but will be needed to replace coal-fired power.

The feasibility licences will allow developers to undertake environmental assessments and geotechnical surveys in the proposed wind farm zone on the Gippsland coast.

“The government’s reliable renewables plan is unlocking offshore wind in Australia … it is very much about planning for a reliable energy system years into the future,” Bowen said in a speech at the Energy Users Association conference.

If feasibility is proven, developers can apply for a commercial licence to build an offshore wind project.

Two feasibility licences were won by projects backed by global fund manager Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, including the Star of the South, which has long planned an A$9 billion ($6 billion) wind farm in the offshore zone.

Australia’s centre-left Labor government has been boosting clean energy projects as the country moves away from its dependence on coal-fired power. It has pledged to underwrite new wind, solar and battery projects with more than A$40 billion since coming to power in 2022.

($1 = 1.5456 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Renju Jose in Sydney; Editing by Sonali Paul)