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The Victorian Government plans to generate 2GW of offshore wind –  enough to power 1.5 million homes –  with Australia’s first offshore wind farms.

These farms are set to drive regional investment, slash emissions and create jobs.

State Premier, Daniel Andrews, said, “We’re not just talking about transitioning to clean energy, we’re actually delivering it – along with thousands of jobs in one of the world’s fastest growing industries and cheaper bills for millions of households.”

The nation-leading policy, set out in the Victorian Offshore Wind Policy Directions Paper, includes procuring projects that will generate at least 2GW of offshore wind online by 2032, creating thousands of jobs in the process.

The first power from offshore wind is expected as soon as 2028 following a competitive process, and targets of 4GW have been set for 2035 and 9GW for 2040.

Winds off Victoria’s coastline are strong enough to support this new industry, create thousands of jobs, drive economic development, and help Victoria halve emissions by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, said, “Victoria’s offshore wind resources are officially open for business, but the real work starts now.

“We know it will take years to plan and develop the first tranche of wind projects in Australia, due to their complexity, scale, regulatory and infrastructure requirements – and we’re ready to start that journey today.”

Studies show the state has the potential to support 13GW of capacity from coastal regions by 2050, five times the state’s current renewable energy generation.

At 13GW, these offshore wind projects would generate up to 6,100 jobs in the development and construction phase and in ongoing operational jobs.

In November 2021, the state pledged approximately $40 million under the Energy Innovation Fund to fund feasibility studies and pre-construction development for three major offshore wind proposals: Star of the South, Macquarie Group and Flotation Energy.

Together, these three projects could generate 4.7GW of new capacity, power around 3.6 million homes and bring more than $18 billion in new investment to Victoria.

Industry welcomes announcement

Environment Victoria CEO, Jono La Nauze, welcomed the news and said it would result in thousands of good, long-term jobs in regional areas, especially in Gippsland.

“This is a deeply impressive announcement on renewable energy that will kick start one of the most important industries for solving the climate crisis,” Mr Nauze said.

“Offshore wind is the missing piece of Australia’s energy puzzle and one of the biggest levers we have to cut pollution while boosting the economy and creating good local jobs. “By harnessing strong, steady ocean winds, offshore wind towers can provide cheap and reliable power for our local manufacturing industry.”

The State Government will now undertake an extensive consultation process to ensure that Traditional Owners, local communities and the industry collaborate on the design of the offshore wind program.

The US and UK have also set strong targets for offshore wind –  30 and 40GW by 2030, respectively –  so it’s likely that there will be significant cost reductions in the coming decade, which have so far been a barrier to the development of the industry in Australia.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive, Kane Thornton, said, “Offshore wind projects and their proximity to regions most impacted by the retirement of fossil fuel generators will provide critical job opportunities for workers and their communities.

“With the State Government and industry working together, we can ensure a steady delivery of these commitments in a way that provides stability for local workers and suppliers.”

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