Australia

Australia

Equinor backs Nexsphere’s multi-gigawatt offshore wind farm off Australia

Norwegian energy major Equinor and Australian developer Nexsphere have joined forces to develop an offshore wind project in the Bass Strait between Tasmania and Gippsland, Victoria, that could reach multi-gigawatt capacity.

The Bass Strait area between Victoria and Tasmania has been proposed as an offshore wind development zone (pic credit: Naomi Rahim/Getty Images)
The Bass Strait area between Victoria and Tasmania has been proposed as an offshore wind development zone (pic credit: Naomi Rahim/Getty Images)

The agreement, expected to be complete in the first quarter of 2023, subject to regulatory approvals, will see the partners initially develop a fixed-bottom wind farm, Bass Offshore Wind Energy (BOWE), 30km off Tasmania’s north-east coast. Phase one of the project is expected to comprise around 70 turbines for a capacity of roughly 1GW, Nexsphere CEO Glen Kierse had announced in August. However, the companies said the full multi-stage project could eventually reach “multiple gigawatts of installed capacity”. 

The sea area is already home to the 2200MW Star of the South Star of the South (2200MW) Offshoreoff Gippsland, Victoria, Australia, Asia-Pacific Click to see full details wind farm project being developed by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners. It was proposed as a development zone for offshore wind in August, when the government launched a public consultation on the area and on five other proposed offshore wind zones, including one north of Tasmania. Developers would be able to win 40-year operating licences for projects in the zones. 

The development zones chosen are close to transmission networks and industrial zones, as well as having good wind characteristics. That has been a draw for the new partnership. Glen Kerse, chief executive of Nexsphere, said: “We see BOWE as one of a series of projects that will provide the scale required to generate high-capacity renewable electricity to support significant growth for Tasmania and its emerging green hydrogen sector, as well as providing renewable electricity into the national electricity market.” 

Equinor is already working on three 2GW offshore wind farms in Australia in partnership with Oceanex Energy

Energy initiatives in Tasmania include new pumped storage for the island’s existing hydro power, the Marinus Link – a new 750MW cable across the strait; and the Bell Bay Hydrogen Hub, which aims to produce and export green hydrogen.

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