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Offshore wind will come to Australian waters – as long as we pave the way for this new industry

Offshore wind will come to Australian waters – as long as we pave the way for this new industry

Wind turbines in sea

Offshore wind is the best important role in Europe’s shift to renewables.

Australia’s excellent offshore resources now look like they are going to contribute to our own energy transition. Last week, the Victorian government announced ambitious targetsFor offshore wind capacity of 2 gigawatts, 4GW, 2035 and 9GW by 2040.

If all is built, it will produce someplace in the region of 40 terawatt hours of power (TWh)Near to All electricity used via the NEM in Australia’s second most populous state.

Offshore wind is an excellent option for decarbonizing electricity. However, more must be done to make these plans into huge turbines offshore. We need to simplify regulations, set more targets, invest in research, and build a supply chain.

Wind turbines in sea

The offshore wind farm has become an important source for electricity in Europe.

Key to policy goals

Victoria’s groundbreaking announcement comes after federal government support for Australia’s energy transition through the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Act 2021. It provides a framework for offshore renewable energy development in Australia and gives offshore wind backers greater certainty.

Where should offshore wind be constructed? Key locations are off the Gippsland coast, as well as the coasts of the Hunter and Illawarra regions and off Tasmania’s north-west, according to the draft 2022 Plan for the Integrated System issued by Australia’s energy market operator. At least 12 projects are currently in the Early stages of development.

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What are the steps to make this happen? We have a solution. recent working paperWe surveyed experts from industry, government, and the research community to find out which policies they believe are necessary for offshore success. We surveyed experts in the region from Australia, South Asia, Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia.

We found that experts were strongly supportive of the use policy targets. Why? Because policy targets provide certainty for windfarm developers and help to build a pipeline. Victoria could be an example for other states and set targets to boost the offshore wind industry.

It is not enough to have targets. Our experts identified streamlined regulation as crucial. Some European countries have taken steps to coordinate offshore wind siting, consultation and project development. Japan is now considering adopting this approach.

Developers looking to build offshore wind in Australia currently have to navigate multiple agencies due to their separate federal and state responsibilities. With careful consultation with local communities, coordination will provide greater regulatory certainty and coordination.

Expert support for policies to accelerate offshore winds development, separated by turbines mounted onto the seabed and tethered floating towers.

Floating turbine technology must be further developed

Most of the world’s offshore turbines sit on fixed foundations in waters less than 60 metres deep.

Some of Australia’s best offshore wind resources are located in Deeper water. That means we’ll need to use floating turbines, which sit on surface platforms tethered by cable to the seafloor.

This technology isn’t as developed as fixed foundation turbines. This technology will become more affordable as it matures.

Floating wind turbines

Floating wind turbines in development
Wikimedia, CC BY

How can this be accelerated? According to the experts who surveyed us, government-backed research can reduce costs faster and help with the commercialisation and development of newer technologies.

The Victorian government expects that local supply chain for the offshore wind rollouts will emerge and be a boon to Australia’s economy. Why keep this to ourselves? A strong local supply chain would be a good fit for the larger Asia Pacific offshore wind market. Grow very stronglyThis decade.

Offshore wind is only just starting.

Last year’s federal legislation saw Australia join nations in our region including Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea and China in Establishing policy frameworksTo support offshore wind power deployment.

It’s unusual to see federal and state governments seeing eye to eye on renewables.
But that’s what we’re starting to see with offshore wind. Last year’s federal legislation has had positive spin-off effects clearly seen in Victoria’s new Vision for the sector.

Victoria’s government believes its mooted offshore wind pipeline will be a major source of new jobs, throughout the project development, construction, and operations phases.

Some of these jobs are in coal regions, such as the Latrobe Valley. They are currently transitioning away form coal mines and power stations.

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Technician climbs offshore wind turbine

A supply chain and skilled workers are required to build and maintain offshore wind.
Getty Images

As you might expect planning, building, and operating offshore wind farms can be complex. It requires coordination with other users of ocean resources and assessing the potential environmental impacts.

This means that even though federal legislation and announcements from the state governments are important first steps, they are only the beginning of creating the policy framework and supply chain to support an extensive offshore wind industry in Australia.

Is it worth it. Absolutely. Europe’s A thriving offshore wind marketThis electricity source is capable of competing with other sources without subsidies, which shows that it is more than capable. Offshore wind could also supply renewable electricity. Produce hydrogen.

What are the next steps

Australia already has offshore wind projects in development. Star of the SouthGippsland is the most advanced. If this goes ahead, this 2.2GW project could supply up to 20% of Victoria’s electricity needs.

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A 3GW offshore wind farm was proposed in Western Australia. The project’s backers suggest this would be enough to enough to generate up to 11 TWh powerEach year, approximately six million tonnes of CO2 emissions are offset.

According to the IMF, costs are expected to drop and keep falling if offshore wind deployment increases in line to net zero emissions targets. CSIRO projections.

Projections of the costs for offshore wind.
CSIRO Gencost 2021

It is great to see offshore wind gain momentum. It is time to think about measures like regulatory streamlining, increased policy targets to reduce risk investments, and investments made in research and development.

If we get these in place, offshore wind could become an important part of the energy transition in Australia – and help Australian companies compete internationally for a share of this ballooning new market.

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