Thousands of jobs will be created over the next 15 years as Australia moves towards its renewable energy future, with the announcement of Australia’s first offshore wind farm.
Bass Strait off Gippsland has been chosen as the first area, with the potential to support more than 10GW of power generation throughout the year, the equivalent of about five coal-fired plants.
The area covers about 15,000 square kilometers offshore, from Lakes Entrance in the east to south of Wilsons Headland in the west.
The Star of the South Offshore Windfarm project has been awarded flagship product status, with up to 200 wind turbines to be built up to 25km offshore.
Energy Minister Chris Bowen said the declaration was a “crucial” 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 powered Australia and will power Australia into the future.
“Australia has great potential.”
Bowen said more than 2000 jobs are estimated to be created during development and construction, with additional operational jobs ongoing.
The area is smaller than originally proposed due to concerns raised by community members, including “visual impact” as well as potential environmental damage.
As a result, the declared area will include a buffer zone of 10 km from the coast.
Industry Minister Ed Husic said the government expected more projects like Star of the South in the coming years.
“We want to see more large-scale projects built in the coming years. This will help integrate Australian manufacturing with renewable energy infrastructure, generating more jobs for Australian businesses,” he said.
“And that is precisely why the National Reconstruction Fund is so important. We’re setting aside $3 billion to make sustainable investments in renewable energy that help create these long-term, high-paying jobs.”
Originally published as a declared offshore wind zone for Bass Strait off Gippsland