Thousands of jobs will be created over the next 15 years as Australia transitions to its renewable energy future with the announcement of Australia’s first offshore wind zone.
The Bass Strait off Gippsland was selected as the first zone that has the potential to support more than 10GW of year-round power generation – the equivalent of approximately five coal-fired power plants.
The area covers approximately 15,000 square kilometers offshore, stretching from Lakes Entrance in the east to Wilsons Promontory in the west.
The Star of the South Offshore Windfarm project has been awarded Major Product status, with up to 200 wind turbines to be built up to 25km offshore.
Energy Secretary Chris Bowen said the declaration was a “decisive” step towards “affordable, reliable and secure energy and new economic opportunities for Australia”.
“Australia’s new offshore wind industry will start in Gippsland,” he said.
“It will support new jobs and economic development in the regions that have always driven Australia and will lead Australia into the future.
“Australia has huge potential.”
Mr Bowen said it is estimated that more than 2000 jobs will be created during development and construction, with additional ongoing operational jobs.
The area is smaller than originally proposed due to concerns raised by members of the community, including the “visual impact” as well as potential environmental damage.
As a result, the declared area will include a 10 km buffer zone from the coast.
Industry Secretary Ed Husic said the government expects more projects like Star of the South in the coming years.
“We want more major projects to be built in the coming years. This will help integrate Australian manufacturing with renewable energy infrastructure and create more jobs in Australian companies,” he said.
“And that is exactly why the National Recovery Fund is so important. We are committing $3 billion to sustainable renewable energy investments to help create these long-term, high-paying jobs.”
Originally published as offshore wind zone declared for Bass Strait off Gippsland