Preliminary Environmental and Planning Assessments for multiple offshore wind farms
- Client Name
- Green Energy Partners Pty Ltd
- Various, Australia
- CFD, wind & energy
- Environmental management, permitting & compliance
- Environmental & social impact assessment
- Marine science
Green Energy Partners (GEP) are evaluating options to develop 6 x Floating and Fixed Offshore Wind Farms at a number of potential sites across Australia ranging in capacity from 1.5GW to 2GW. The proposed sites include 2 x Bass Strait and Portland in Victoria, Wollongong in New South Wales, Kwinana located in Western Australia and the Gold Coast in Queensland.
GEP were looking to commence further feasibility assessment work as part of their future Feasibility License Application(s) with the Commonwealth Government /Offshore Wind Farm Regulator under the provisions of the new Commonwealth Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Act 2022. The intent of this assessment is to further explore the suitability of the proposed locations and gain access to the seabed and proposed licensed areas to undertake future environmental impact assessment, statutory approval and marine survey work for the proposed offshore wind farms.
A key challenge for the client was also to develop a Digital platform and GIS database for both the onshore terrestrial and offshore marine environments for use with an integrated environmental risk framework for the proposed transmission, network and offshore wind farm works. SLR also led the development and implementation of the Digital and GIS solution on behalf of GEP.
Following our nominated offshore wind farm Teams previous experience on Australia’s first 2GW offshore wind farm in Gippsland (Star of the South), SLR were confidentially approached by GEP to assist them with progressing their national portfolio of offshore wind farms. Our team were requested by GEP to provide Lead Environmental Advisor support for the feasibility investigations that were to lead into the future preparation of Feasibility Licence Applications to the Commonwealth Government and NOPSEMA for the proposed works.
SLR were engaged to prepare Preliminary Environmental, Planning, Cultural Heritage and Marine Assessment Report(s) for all of the proposed offshore wind farms in Australia to identify key terrestrial and marine environmental risks and opportunities for the infrastructure works.
For the 1.5GW and 2GW offshore wind farm sites located in Bass Strait, Victoria, the Preliminary Report included specialist analysis on Planning, Marine, Acoustics, Air Quality, Ecological and Environment, Climate Change, Night Skies, Landscape & Visual Impact Assessment and stakeholder / interest group matters. A detailed qualitive environmental risk assessment was completed for the proposed offshore wind farm(s) as part of a broader Project Risk Assessment. GIS mapping and a Digital platform / systems were developed by SLR, in addition to assisting the client with refining the transmission line and marine cable corridors to consider matters of state and national environmental and marine ecosystem significance.
SLR also prepared an Environmental Planning & Regulatory Approval Pathway analysis in Gippsland to identify the potential primary statutory approvals required under the Vic EES Act and Cth EPBC Act for the proposed onshore and offshore wind farm works. This work was used by GEP as part of their Regulatory engagement with the Commonwealth Government, NOPSEMA and the Victorian Government.
For the additional 4 x proposed 2GW sites, our team completed a environmental and marine risk analysis, assessing the areas of cultural heritage, heritage, and marine / environmental significance for the proposed offshore acreage areas and the proposed onshore transmission line route options. The project work also included the development of a GIS database and Digital platform for all sites.
The offshore wind energy industry holds a significant role in ensuring Australia are continuing to build a diverse and sustainable energy supply, delivering positive social and economic outcomes. The advice provided by SLR on this project has played a pivotal role in working towards Victoria’s transition to a new offshore wind farm industry and has contributed to the global lead goal of net zero emissions by 2050.
SLR’s environmental support to the feasibility assessment process for the proposed offshore wind farms, also enabled GEP to progress their program of project work towards preparing Draft Feasibility Licence Applications under the Commonwealth Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Act 2022 for future proposed declared areas for the offshore wind farm sector in Australia. Our contribution also assisted GEP with working towards the LCOE – levelized cost of energy.