Macquarie’s Corio unveils plans for Australia’s biggest offshore wind farm
Corio Generation, an offshoot of Macquarie’s Green Investment Group – has unveiled plans for a 2.5GW offshore wind project that that would be the biggest in Australia if it goes ahead.
The project – named Great Eastern Offshore Wind – would be located around 22kms off the coast of the Wellington Shire in Gippsland, eastern Victoria, and is the second big offshore wind farm proposed by Corio for the state.
Corio, or at least its parent group Macquarie, has previously unveiled – in November last year – a 1.5GW project called the Great Southern Offshore Wind project, which would be located off Gippsland’s Bass Coast.
The new project would overtake, in size, the 2.2GW Star of the South project that is currently considered to be the most advanced offshore wind project in Australia.
The announcement takes the amount of offshore wind project proposals in Australian waters close to 20GW (see RenewEconomy’s Offshore Wind Farm Map of Australia), with the Victoria and NSW government in particular looking to fast-track the technology to fill the gaps created by closing coal generators.
Victoria has set a target of 9GW of offshore wind capacity by 2040 and wants to see the first production by 2028, while NSW is hoping to attract proposals from offshore wind project developers as part of its newly created Illawarra renewable energy zone. a key plank of its renewable infrastructure plans.
“We see a significant opportunity for offshore wind in Australia, which enjoys an abundance of this natural resource,” Jonathan Cole, the CEO of Corio Generation, said in a statement.
“This, together with clear regulatory frameworks and government support, means offshore wind can contribute to Australia’s energy transition, as well as support local businesses and jobs in the green economy.”
Legislation that paves the way for offshore wind projects to be developed in Australia came into effect at the start of the month, although there is still much to do to clarify some of the rules and regulations associated with the industry.
“While offshore wind is a new technology in Australia, it is well established in countries such as the UK where it is a proven, clean and cost-competitive source of electricity,” Cole said.
“Offshore wind will play an important role in the mix of renewable energy that support Australia’s transition to a lower-carbon economy.”
Corio Generation was launched as a stand-alone specialist investor in offshore wind in April this year, and has boasts a project pipeline of more than 15GW, comprising both floating and fixed bottom technologies in Europe (Sweden, Norway, UK, Ireland, France) and Asia (South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Australia).
Cole, a former head of offshore wind at Spanish giant Iberdrola, leads a team of more than 100 executives at Corio Generation.
“These next generation offshore wind projects will help form the backbone of the net-zero global energy system while meeting the energy needs of communities and corporate offtakers sustainably, reliably, safely and responsibly,” it says.
Corio says it has been targeting Gippsland – as have others, including the 2.2GW Star of the South project – because of its excellent wind speeds that average more than 9m/s (metres per second), and suitable marine conditions.
There is also an established offshore oil and gas and conventional energy industries that can provide skills and expertise to support the development, construction and operation of the project.
See RenewEconomy’s Offshore Wind Farm Map of Australia
Giles Parkinson is founder and editor of Renew Economy, and is also the founder of One Step Off The Grid and founder/editor of the EV-focused The Driven. Giles has been a journalist for 40 years and is a former business and deputy editor of the Australian Financial Review.