German wind giant buys three major Australian offshore wind projects

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German wind power giant wpd Group has bought three large offshore wind projects in Australia under a joint venture agreement with UK-based Australis Energy.

The three projects – located in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia – have a combined capacity of around 1.4 GW, but could grow significantly if expanded in Commonwealth waters rather than the waters of the state.

Australis Energy carried out initial work on all three projects and has now brought in Bremen-based wpd group – which has over 5,200MW of onshore and offshore wind capacity and a further 30GW in the pipeline – as a partner. of joint venture.

wpd project development manager Mirjam Tome, who established wpd Offshore’s Australian office earlier this year, says the Victoria project near Portland is the most advanced and – given the explicit push and targets in the short, medium and long term of the state government – could be in production as early as 2027.

Victoria aims to have 9GW of offshore wind capacity by 2040, with first entry into production around 2028, although it remains to be seen whether these deadlines can be met given they will be the first of their kind in Australia.

The country has seen a rush of new project proposals since Victoria unveiled its target – and the federal government has delivered the first legislation allowing them to be built in Commonwealth waters.

The recent integrated system plan produced by the Australian energy market operator assumes no offshore wind projects in its scenarios – reflecting the early stages of the industry – but has identified a new offshore wind ‘zone’ in the south -west of Victoria around Portland.

It is the site of one of the projects now jointly owned by Australis and wpd, and which Tome believes has the best chance of getting away with it first.

A statement from the two companies said the first two phases of the three projects have been completed and will now move into phase 3, which will include environmental impact assessments (ESIAs), additional data collection, agreements with landowners, network access agreements and planning, permits and licenses.

The Germany-based wpd has local teams and project developments in Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines, and is building the 640 MW Yunlin project in Taiwan, which will be one of the largest wind projects offshore of the APAC region when completed.

“In this joint venture, wpd can bring both exceptional expertise and many years of experience in developing, implementing and operating offshore projects in the emerging Australian market,” said Tome.

“With the investment opportunity offered by Australis Energy to participate in the development of its portfolio of Australian offshore wind projects, we are fortunate to be working with one of the first project developers to begin systematically developing offshore wind projects. in Australia.”

British company Australis Energy says the Portland project would include around 60 turbines totaling around 495 MW and would be located around 5km offshore, around 25km southwest of Portland.

Its South Australia project, offshore Kingston, would have a capacity of around 600 MW, while the Western Australia project, near Bunbury, south of Perth, would have a capacity of around 300 MW.

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