Plans are slowly brewing for a massive, 8 billion dollar, 2000 MW wind farm located off the coast of Gippsland, Australia. The project’s backers have been patiently waiting for years for the prices of wind technology to come down to levels where the farm would be economically viable. Now it seems as if the plan may soon be ready to move forward, as a study on the project’s economic viability is underway.
Andy Evans, the chief executive of Offshore Energy, and Terry Kallis, former general manager at Electranet, have undertaken a three-year long feasibility study of the wind farm project. The duo is working alongside leading global engineering firm Parsons Brinkcerhoff/WSP to determine the project’s feasibility.
The advantage of offshore wind is that it is a more reliable source of energy than onshore wind, but it also has higher capital costs, construction risk, and maintenance costs associated with it. The project would no doubt create many jobs and produce a lot of energy. However, it remains to be seen if the advantages of constructing it would outweigh the investment.
Evans says that the cost for delivered electricity from offshore wind plants has dropped off precipitously over the past few years.
“Even on current cost, offshore wind provides a new and exciting option for Australia’s energy capacity and security,” says Evans. “We expect technology and installation costs to continue to come down.”
If the project is determined to be economically feasible and given the go ahead, it would deliver about 8000 GWh of electricity per year through 250 large turbines placed over a 574 square kilometer area. The generated energy would be equal to roughly 18% of Victoria’s energy demands, and reduce carbon emissions by about 10.5 million tons a year.