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2 November 2022

Australia gearing up for 10 TWh per year offshore wind plan

Vena Energy, an Asia-Pacific renewable energy company based in Singapore, has unveiled its plans to build a 2GW offshore wind project in the Australian state of Victoria. The project, entitled Blue Marlin, is regarded as an important addition to Vena’s portfolio and is due to begin construction in 2028.

The head of Vena Energy in Australia, Owen Seal, said that the location of the Blue Marlin project had been identified by Vena in 2017. Its location, over 23km off the coast of the Eastern Australian state and 55 meters deep, will minimize visual impact and take advantage of stronger offshore winds.

Vena Energy claims that at full power the project will be able to generate 10 TWh of electricity per year, with the help of multiple 21MW wind turbines. The figure amounts to a predicted 20% of Victoria’s energy demand in 2040 and to about 21.5% of what Australia generates as a whole via wind and solar. The state houses Melbourne, Australia’s second most populated city with over 5 million residents.

Seal quoted the “recent changes in regulation and market landscape” as the catalysts for unlocking the potential of such projects to deliver “security of supply, greater diversity in the energy mix and better outcomes for electricity consumers. “

The Blue Marlin project also highlights the role that the state of Victoria is playing in the context of Australia’s renewable push, after Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners announced a 2.2GW offshore wind project off the coast of Gippsland. This is the most progressed offshore project in Australia and is set to be the first one completed.

The state of Victoria also announced in March its targets in the offshore industry with at least 2GW of installed power capacity by 2032, 4GW by 2035 and 9GW by 2040.

But all this couldn’t come soon enough for Australia. The country is pledged to a 43% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and net zero emissions by 2050. In 2020 Australia has generated about 90% of total energy from fossil fuels – a third coal, a third natural gas and a third oil – with only 4% coming from renewables like wind, solar and hydro with the rest coming from biofuels and waste.

However, Australia does plan for offshore wind to play a major role on the road to achieving its targets. The country hit a major milestone when a few months ago its government first began consulting over this designated development area off the state of Victoria and named five other locations for future turbine deployments, including Hunter and Illawarra in New South Wales where developer Oceanex Energy is planning giga-scale floating projects. The Bass Strait off Tasmania, the Southern Ocean region off Portland in Victoria and the Indian Ocean off Perth on the west coast are among the other locations being discussed.

Climate change and energy minister, Chris Bowen, claims that Australia has “some of the best offshore wind resources in the world”, which seem to make the region very attractive to potential investors.

The newly elected Labor government has vowed to accelerate clean energy and climate action in an attempt to replicate Europe, which has been more eager to take advantage of its natural resources and has already seen many giga-scale wind projects begin development – more on which can be accessed here – and make up for the previous federal government’s lack of action to promote strategies that would finally see Australia shift away from fossil fuel dependency.