Offshore wind farm put on hold

An offshore wind farm, which would power up to 1.2 million homes, has been put on hold, as a result of Energy Minister Angus Taylor not  signing off on an exploration license to allow a detailed assessment of the resource to begin.

The Department of the Environment and Energy confirmed during Senate Estimates recently that an evaluation of the project has been undertaken, a plan for a customised exploration license developed, and a briefing and recommendations provided to the minister, but that the project can progress no further without Mr Taylor granting the exploration license.

The Star of the South project seeks to construct 250 wind turbines in Commonwealth waters off the coast of Victoria’s Gippsland region, generating up to 20 per cent of Victoria’s electricity needs and feeding the power into the National Electricity Market via an underground cable to the Latrobe Valley.

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) is concerned that the project — which the company claims will create up to 12,000 manufacturing and construction jobs and slash Australia’s carbon emissions — appeared to be unnecessarily held up by the Federal Government.

MUA Deputy National Secretary, Will Tracey, said the exploration license awaiting approval did not allow construction to commence and was simply about allowing the use of floating buoys and platforms off the Gippsland coast to gather wind and wave observations.