Fugro has won work offshore Australia on the first ever marine geotechnical campaign focused on offshore wind.
It will carry out the Star of the South (SOTS) project off Gippsland, southeast of Australia. The Victoria government will partly fund the work.
SOTS could generate up to 2.2 GW of new capacity, meeting around 20% of Victoria’s domestic needs.
“Fugro have extensive experience working on offshore renewable energy projects around the world, delivering ground investigations safely and to the highest standard,” said SOTS CEO Charles Rattray.
“Knowing what’s under the seabed in this location helps ensure everything we do – from turbine design and placement through to construction methods – is tailored specifically for this location in Bass Strait.”
State Minister for Energy and Resources Lily D’Ambrosio announced the start of the geotechnical campaign. She described it as a “huge achievement for Victoria as it makes the transition from coal to renewables”.
The local government has provided A$19.5 million ($12.8mn) for the pre-construction work, via the Energy Innovation Fund.
Fugro APAC regional business line director Shalu Shajahan said the company was “deeply committed” to the energy transition. “We are proud to be part of the Start of the South project supporting the transition to renewable energy,” said Shajahan.
Fugro’s work will take around five weeks. It will collect soil and rock samples from up to 70 metres below the seafloor. Results from the work will feed in to the proposed offshore wind design, tailoring it to meet local seabed conditions.
This would see Victoria become home to Australia’s first offshore wind farm. It plans to reach 2 GW of capacity from the offshore by 2032, rising to 4 GW by 2035 and then 9 GW by 2040. Victoria aims to reach net zero by 2045.
Offshore Wind Energy Victoria (OWEV) is working on a “comprehensive support package”. This aims to provide certainty to project developers and financiers for offshore wind projects in the state.
Member for Bass Jordan Crugnale said Gippsland would be a “critical part of Victoria’s offshore wind energy industry”. This is “already attracting lots of local investment that in turn will create regional jobs driving the transformation of the state’s energy sector.”
In addition to the SOTS project, plans are also under way for the 1.5 GW Great Southern Offshore Wind project and Seadragon.
Victoria is carrying out a public consultation on changes to the transmission system. The process closes on May 14.