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Offshore wind energy is a key pillar in Victoria’s renewables transition.

Offshore wind energy projects will bring many benefits to the communities that host them, but also some impacts. We will work with impacted Victorians to address their concerns and to deliver lasting, shared benefits to these communities.

Partnering with Traditional Owners and engaging with community

We understand the importance of partnerships, consultation, and feedback in this process. That is why:

  • We are building partnerships with Traditional Owner Corporations who may be affected by offshore wind development and supporting them to engage. This includes Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation, Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation, Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owner Aboriginal Corporation and Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation. Strong partnerships with Traditional Owners are important to the program’s success and will help us understand offshore wind’s impact on Country and Sea Country.
  • We will consult with communities, workers, unions, affected businesses, the energy industry and port operators to design our approach.
  • We will minimise the impact of development and fairly share the benefits with them.

Why Gippsland and potentially Portland?

Parts of Victoria’s coastline are well suited for offshore wind farms. Studies show that waters off the coast of Gippsland and Portland have the potential to support 13GW of power. That’s because these areas have:

  • strong and consistent wind speeds
  • a large area of shallow ocean – less than 50-60 metres deep – which is suitable for fixed-platform turbines (the most common technology used overseas)
  • ports that can support construction, operation, and maintenance
  • a strong transmission grid that can be accessed.

While these areas have been identified as well suited for offshore wind, farms can only be built in areas approved by the Australian Government. That's because offshore wind farms are built in Australian Government waters which start 5.5km from the Victorian coastline.

Declared offshore wind zones off the coast of Victoria

The Bass Strait off Gippsland spans approximately 15,000 square kilometres in Australian waters approximately 10km from the Victorian coastline, running from Lakes Entrance in the east to south of Wilsons Promontory in the west. To see a map of the area and learn more, visit the Australian Government’s website.

While the Australian Government was considering the area west of Wilsons Promontory as a potential zone, it has now been confirmed that there are unacceptable environmental risks to progressing with offshore wind in this region.

Potential offshore wind zones off the coast of Victoria

The Australian Government has also proposed declaring an offshore wind zone in the Southern Ocean off the coast of Portland. A 60-day public consultation closed on 31 August 2023. To see a map of the area and learn more about the next steps in the process, visit the Australian Government’s website.

Living near an offshore wind declared area – what to expect

Before a wind farm can be built, there is a lot of work and planning that must happen.

  • First, an offshore wind farm can only be built in areas approved by the Australian Government. These areas are called declared areas.
  • After an area is declared suitable for offshore wind, developers can apply for a feasibility licence. This licence gives them permission to investigate their proposed project in more detail.
  • A commercial licence is the next licence a developer will need. This gives them permission to build the farm – it is only given to developers who have completed all the steps and approvals needed for their feasibility licence.
  • Even before an area is officially declared suitable for offshore wind, a developer might start earlier investigations around or near possible offshore wind areas. This is called pre-feasibility activity.

Learn more about each stage below or visit Establishing offshore renewable energy infrastructure - DCCEEW.

Even before an area is officially declared suitable for offshore wind, a developer will often start earlier investigations in possible offshore wind areas. This is called pre-feasibility activity and can include:

  • consulting with the community to understand their concerns or opportunities
  • doing assessments on the environment, such as understanding more about migratory birds and marine life in these areas.

Communities in Gippsland and Portland may have already seen some of this developer activity.

Three offshore wind developers have been funded through our Energy Innovation Fund to do pre-feasibility activity.

  • Issued by the Australian Government, the feasibility licence period is up to 7 years.
  • Developers must develop a management plan – as part of this they need to:
    • consult with the local community and demonstrate how they will share the area with other users
    • have a plan for gathering and responding to ongoing feedback from stakeholders throughout the life of the project.
  • The management plan must be approved by the Australian Offshore Infrastructure Regulator before an application for a commercial licence can be granted.

For the declared area in the Gippsland region, offshore wind developers had until the end of April 2023 to apply for a feasibility licence. The Australian Government is now assessing these applications and is expected to announce which developers were successful by the end of 2023.

  • To apply for a commercial licence, developers must have received all other relevant approvals, including environmental approvals.
  • Before deciding whether to grant a commercial licence, the Australian Government may require the developer to conduct specific kinds of consultation.
  • If the commercial licence is granted, which is for a period of 40 years, the construction of the wind farm can commence.

We are working closely with the Australian Government throughout the consultation, licensing assessment and approval processes.

Common concerns with offshore wind – get the facts

While offshore wind turbines will be located in Australian waters, offshore wind project activity will span Australian and Victorian waters. That is why these projects are governed by Victorian and Australian legislation. Both governments are working together to develop offshore wind.

Offshore wind on land, in Victorian waters and in Commonwealth waters

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Engagement and seeking feedback is an important part of the process of developing offshore wind.

  • The Australian Government is required to consult on proposed areas for offshore wind zones. The required consultation period is 60 days.
  • The Victorian Government, through VicGrid, is responsible for engaging on transmission planning.

If you live in Gippsland and Portland, you might have noticed developers are already speaking to community as part of their pre-feasibility activities. This doesn’t mean their projects are going ahead – they still have many steps to take including getting a feasibility licence and a commercial licence.

The Gippsland declared offshore wind area begins at least 10 kilometres from shore, in waters governed by the Australian Government. Potential developers are currently being assessed for a feasibility license by the Australian Government. They will need to consult on the location and placement of turbines as part of their management plan and to support assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

International offshore wind projects have shown that they can share space with commercial fishing activities. However, this is a new sector in Victoria so further work will be undertaken to understand how fishing activities and projects interact in the same areas.

For example, there may be small, restricted areas around turbines and substations. There may also be larger restricted areas while approved construction takes place. The exact details of any restricted areas will be determined on a project-by-project basis, with developers required to demonstrate how they will share the area with other users. They will need to have a plan for gathering and responding to ongoing feedback throughout the life of the project.

The impact of offshore wind on recreational fishing has been examined overseas. It suggests that offshore wind farms and fishing can, in many cases, share the same space.

VicGrid is leading the development of the new transmission connections needed for offshore wind.

A coordinated approach will reduce duplication, minimise impacts to communities hosting the new transmission, and avoid unnecessary energy costs for Victorian households and businesses.

Traditional Owners, communities and regional stakeholders across Gippsland and Portland will be at the heart of VicGrid’s work with planned, respectful and ongoing public engagement. They will share timely information and ensure local values, priorities and concerns are actively considered in the development of new offshore wind connections.

During 2023, VicGrid will progress from early planning into detailed investigations and ongoing local engagement to identify potential transmission corridors and preferred options for connection points with offshore wind generators.

Visit Engage Victoria to get the latest information.

Victoria’s biodiversity is unique. While we can learn from the experience of countries where offshore wind is more developed, we also need to develop our own understanding of the potential impacts offshore wind may have on our biodiversity.

Any proposed offshore wind project will need to seek environmental approvals under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.  This includes seeking environmental approvals for impacts on nationally significant species such as whales and migratory birds. During the feasibility licence period, which is up to 7 years, developers must create a management plan, including carrying out investigations and responding to feedback from stakeholders for the life of the project.

Benefits for host communities

Australia lacks established supply chains for offshore wind energy, unlike other countries with experience in large-scale projects. We aim to strike a balance between international expertise and local involvement to develop a successful sector that benefits our communities.

Through our Local Jobs First policy, we will set requirements for local participation, gradually increasing them as local businesses gain capacity. Through consultations with industry stakeholders, we will determine preliminary targets and refine our approach.

Implementation Statement 3 (late 2023) will have an update on this process.

We’ve started work on a renewable energy workforce development plan. This will identify opportunities for a highly skilled offshore wind workforce.

  • Research and industry insights will help us understand demand for offshore wind occupations.
  • We’ll look at emerging labour supply pathways to understand how we can best build the workforce needed to meet demand and fill jobs with world-class personnel who can deliver offshore wind projects.
  • The plan will identify labour supply shortages and training gaps. This will help us target our actions in the regions where industry transition is occurring, such as Gippsland.

More broadly, work on our upcoming Victorian Energy Jobs Plan will set out a vision and actions to ensure Victoria’s workforce meets the needs of our energy transition.

Consultation – how can I have my say?

Your feedback is an important part of this process –keep an eye on this page to see the status of projects in your area and how you can have your say.

Current, upcoming and past consultations

Port development

The Port of Hastings Corporation has submitted environment referrals to both the Victorian and Australian governments.

These referrals are important next steps in the approvals process for the Victorian Renewable Energy Terminal.

The Victorian Government’s Environment Effects Statement (EES) referral can be viewed on the Department of Transport and Planning website.

The Australian Government will soon publish the Port of Hastings Corporation’s referral for the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act) on their website.


Late 2023.

How do I have my say?

Public consultation is expected to commence later this year and we strongly encourage all stakeholders across the wider community to participate.

Learn more at Supporting Offshore Wind — Port of Hastings.

Offshore wind transmission in Gippsland and Portland

VicGrid asked for feedback on a new decision-making tool (called an Options Assessment Method) that considers a range of factors including construction practicality, cost, impacts to environment, cultural values, community, and potential benefits to regional economies.



How do I have my say?

Visit Engage Victoria to see the next step in the process.

Southern Ocean offshore wind energy zone declaration

The Australian Government has proposed declaring an offshore wind zone in the Southern Ocean off the coast of Portland. The region extends from Warrnambool in Victoria to Port MacDonnell in South Australia. A 60-day public consultation process ran from July to 31 August 2023.



How do I have my say?

Consultation has now closed.

Visit the Australian Government's offshore wind website for next steps in the consultation process.

Page last updated: 12/09/23