Dollars to blow in

SOUTH Gippsland could benefit from significant new investment in the region, with a new port looking likely to be built at Barry Beach to service a proposed offshore wind farm valued at $8 billion.

Offshore Energy representatives addressed South Gippsland Shire Council about its plan for a 250 turbine offshore off the region, from Welshpool to beyond Yarram.

The company confirmed it would consider a site next to the existing Port Anthony at Barry Beach as a base port during construction and operation of the Star of the South wind farm, if it went ahead.

A feasibility study is yet to be conducted but if built, the offshore wind farm would be Australia’s first.

Should Barry Beach host a base port, the region is likely to receive an influx of workers and jobs for locals, with substantial demand for housing, services and local businesses.

Up to 2000 construction jobs are tipped, with a further 10,000 to 12,000 indirect jobs during the supply phase.

Mayor Cr Ray Argento said up to 2000 extra people lived in South Gippsland during construction of the offshore oil and gas rigs.

Offshore Energy’s managing director Andy Evans said the company was assessing whether Barry Beach could be a port during construction and/or during operations and maintenance.

“It’s a key area that we are looking at. That’s a very promising early option,” he said.

“It’s only 25km from the area so from a cost perspective it’s fantastic and from an employment perspective it’s brilliant.”

Mr Evans said at Barry Beach, “a great deal of upgrades would be needed because offshore wind farms are unique”.

He was not sure if Barry Beach would be a base to manufacture turbine components but confirmed the blades would be made overseas and transported to Victoria by sea.

“We are just working with the Victorian and Commonwealth governments at the moments to work out what we can do,” he said.

“We are keen to get moving as quickly as we can with the Commonwealth Government to get the rights in place.”

If rights are secured within coming months as expected, a feasibility study would be undertaken over three to five years to confirm wind resources.

Mr Evans said many power industry workers in Gippsland had the skills needed to build the wind farm and European investors were interested in the project.

The transmission line could follow the same easement used by the existing Basslink electricity interconnector that links Victoria and Tasmania’s electricity supplies.

The Basslink undersea cable runs ashore at McGaurans Beach north-east of Woodside and then over land via overhead cables to the Latrobe Valley.

Mr Kallis promised the wind farm transmission cable would be placed underground, and could run parallel to the Basslink cable.

The islands of Corner Inlet are likely to make the turbines invisible from the mainland coast, with the closest turbine to the coast being 10km away and the furtherest 25km. Wilsons Promontory would be 37km away.

Ten years’ worth of data from the Bureau of Meteorology shows “world class resources” of wind in the area of 9.5 metres a second.

Grand plan: Offshore Energy’s managing director Andy Evans (left) and chairman Terry Kallis (right) discuss their proposal for an offshore wind farm in South Gippsland with South Gippsland Shire Council mayor Cr Ray Argento last Wednesday.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=22059

Posted by on Aug 1 2017. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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