SSE Renewables has formed a consortium with developer Equis to bid for rights in an upcoming offshore wind auction off southeastern Australia.
SSE announced this week that the 50/50 venture would bid for a feasibility license to expedite the development, construction, and operation of an offshore wind farm in the country’s first federally licenced offshore wind zone at Gippsland, near the state of Victoria.
SSE and Equis said they have already identified target areas in which they intend to apply for a feasibility licence and are working together on the required due diligence work ahead of a bid submission this month.
The Bass Strait off Gippsland was formally confirmed in December as Australia’s first offshore wind zone. The strait, and the strong grid across Gippsland and the La Trobe Valley, mean the area has the potential to support more than 10GW of year-round wind energy generation, the government said.
The zoned area itself covers about 15,000 square kilometres offshore, and runs from Lakes Entrance in the east to south of Wilsons Promontory in the west.
It comes as the country now looks to deliver on newly set offshore wind targets, under which Victoria will aiming to build 2 GW of offshore generation by 2032, 4GW of offshore wind capacity by 2035 and 9GW by 2040.
The state’s coastline having full potential to support 13 GW of capacity by 2050.
Several other projects, including the 1.5GW Seadragon, 2.2GW Star of the South and 2.5GW Great Eastern schemes, are also in development off the state.
Should the SSE-Equis venture secure a licence, the former company will be responsible for the EPC, operations, and maintenance of the offshore wind project, while Equis will handle development, including the power network connection, approvals and environmental requirements, community and stakeholder engagement, offtake and government licensing and financing requirements.
“SSE is carefully targeting opportunities to expand its pipeline internationally. Australia and the State of Victoria are at a very early stage of developing their offshore wind potential and SSE sees the Gippsland tender as a good opportunity to bring its capabilities to help deliver it,” said the firm’s head of international business development Vincent Clausse.
“We are delighted to partner with Equis on this application, combining our track record in offshore wind and their local presence and renewables development experience.”
Equis managing director David Russell added: “Equis has been a leading renewable energy developer in Australia and the Asia Pacific for the last decade, including offshore wind generation. SSE is the first-choice partner of offshore wind developers and owners globally and complements Equis’ development expertise, all of which will be fundamental for completing projects in Australia in the highly constrained and competitive offshore wind global market.”