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Offshore wind – a key pillar in our renewable energy future
Victoria is undergoing a once-in-a-generation energy transition. As Victoria's ageing and increasingly unreliable coal-fired power stations retire, more and more renewables – paired with battery storage - will provide the State's electricity as part of our renewable energy transition. From our sun-drenched plains to our windy coastlines – Victoria is blessed with rich renewable sources that will help us achieve our renewable energy target of 95% by 2035.
Offshore wind energy is a key pillar in this renewables transition – and reaching our renewable energy targets. It will also provide many opportunities for Victorians:
- New jobs and career pathways
- Boosts for Victorian businesses through manufacturing and supply chain development
- Regional investment
- Support for our climate action goal of net-zero emissions by 2045.
Victoria’s offshore wind targets are:
- at least 2 gigawatts (GW) of offshore generation capacity by 2032 – enough to power 1.5 million homes
- 4 GW by 2035
- 9 GW by 2040.
Offshore wind farms can only be built in areas approved by the Australian Government. The Australian Government has declared an area of the Bass Strait off Gippsland as Australia’s ﬁrst offshore wind zone. This spans approximately 15,000 square kilometres in Australian waters, running from Lakes Entrance in the east to south of Wilsons Promontory in the west. The Australian Government is also considering an area off the coast of Portland as a potential offshore wind zone.
Learn what project developers can do in an offshore wind zone and how you can have your say.
What is offshore wind energy?
Offshore wind farms are located in oceans or large lakes, instead of on land. They capture the energy of the wind and convert it into electricity. Winds are usually stronger and more constant over water than over land, meaning we can generate more electricity from these farms.
How an offshore wind farm works
- Offshore turbines capture the wind's energy and generate electricity. These turbines are larger and more powerful than onshore wind turbines. The blades can be over 100 metres long and are made to endure high winds.
- Foundations secure turbines to the ocean floor. Foundations can be fixed-bottom (anchored to the seabed) or floating (moored to the seabed in deeper waters).
- Cables transport the electricity from the turbines to the substations.
- Offshore substations collect the power generated by the turbines and prepare it for transmission to shore.
- Onshore substations connect the electricity supplied by the offshore wind farm to the onshore grid.
- Control systems manage the operation of the turbines, monitor the performance of the substructures and foundations, and ensure the safety of the entire system. These systems use advanced sensors and communication technologies to collect and analyse data in real time.
Offshore wind around the world
Offshore wind energy technology has been used internationally for decades and costs have come down over time. More and more countries are turning to offshore wind as part of their renewable energy transition. Many countries around the world have established offshore wind farms, and Victoria is building on their experiences:
- Denmark has been a leader in offshore wind energy since the 1990s when it built the world's first offshore wind farm in Vindeby.
- The United Kingdom has been a pioneer in offshore wind energy since the early 2000s and is currently the world leader in offshore wind capacity. The country has several large offshore wind farms, including the 1,386 MW Hornsea 2, which is currently the world’s largest offshore wind farm.
- China has been rapidly expanding its offshore wind energy capacity in recent years, and currently has the third-largest installed capacity of any country in the world.
The benefits of offshore wind energy
Developing a new offshore wind energy sector will not only deliver more renewable energy – it will also drive regional investment and create jobs.
- Reaching our first target of at least 2 GW by 2032 – enough to power 1.5 million homes – will create thousands of jobs in the process. It’s expected that 13 GW of offshore wind projects would generate up to 6,100 jobs in the development and construction phase and in ongoing operational jobs.
- Developing this new sector will create new career pathways for Victorians and will provide opportunities for Victoria’s skilled coal workers to retrain and reskill.
- Prioritising local content and local jobs will support regional investment.
Offshore wind - establishing a new energy sector
Developing a new offshore wind energy sector is a long process that requires careful planning. We will need to work with the Australian Government, Traditional Owners, communities, project developers, businesses and manufacturers.
There is a lot of work to do - that’s why we have established Offshore Wind Energy Victoria (OWEV) to coordinate multiple work streams that will combine to bring Victoria’s offshore wind sector to life.
This work will:
Procurement and program design
Support offshore wind developers to achieve our targets, with our first milestone of at least 2 GW by 2032.
Transmission planning and development – managed by VicGrid
Connect new offshore wind farms to Victoria’s existing grid.
Ports – managed by the Department of Transport and Planning
Deliver a dedicated assembly port for the first tranche of offshore wind. This will be used to bring in the equipment needed to build offshore wind farms.
The Port of Hastings has been confirmed as the most suitable port for supporting Victoria’s first offshore wind developments, subject to required approvals. This will be known as the Victorian Renewable Energy Terminal.
Supply chain, workforce, and industry development
Ensure we have the materials, training and labour for the offshore wind sector.
Deliver benefits to all Victorians, including communities, workers and businesses.
Legislation and regulation
Working with the Australian Government, streamline processes to give clarity and confidence to community and industry.
Traditional Owner partnerships
Recognise the legal and cultural rights of Traditional Owners and support meaningful progress towards self-determination.
Help us understand community concerns and aspirations about offshore wind development.
Read our Offshore Wind Energy Implementation Statements for updates on this work.
Page last updated: 01/06/23