Wind farm: AGL receives preliminary selection

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A GROUP of leading companies including AGL has been preliminary selected to build wind farms off the Gippsland coast to drive renewable energy in Victoria, The Australian newspaper reported last week.

The group, which could still change as an official decision is still weeks away, will be the lead developers of wind energy, which will generate about 20 per cent of the state’s energy needs within a decade under the state government’s plans. This will double to 4 gigawatts by 2035 and 9GW by 2040.

Companies that have been preliminary awarded a “feasibility licence” are Star of the South, which is Australia’s most advanced offshore wind operation, and a consortium including AGL Energy. The consortium also includes the Norwegian giant Orsted and the Japanese-owned Parkwind, The Australian said.

All parties declined to comment, all having signed non-disclosure agreements during the bidding process.

Feasibility licenses give projects exclusive rights over a part of the region for seven years, which is deemed critical for attracting investment.

Parkwind is owned by JERA, Japan’s largest power generation company, which last month acquired a 15.1 per cent stake in Woodside’s Scarborough LNG project – all part of Japan’s aim to secure its energy supplies.

In contrast, the Japanese-owned Flotation Energy, was left off the list of preliminary licence holders, The Australian said. Flotation is owned by one of Japan’s largest companies, Tokyo Electric Power Company, and had what was regarded as Australia’s second most advanced offshore wind development.

The Australian said it believed Flotation energy had tried to lobby the federal Labor government to reverse its decision, with senior Japanese executives travelling to Canberra. “The list of winners could swell if projects facing boundary disputes, such as those of Origin, Shell and Energy Australia, can adjust their boundaries,” the newspaper said. “Those in boundary disputes still do not know who they are vying with for the same part of the ocean. Oncie informed, parties are expected to have 30 days to strike an agreement.”

The Australian said the government hoped that about 10 developers will be able to begin work on the wind energy projects.

Apart from its specific targets, Victoria sees the potential for 13GW of offshore wind capacity by 2050, five times the current renewable generation in Victoria.

Victoria still generates 60 per cent of its energy from Latrobe Valley brown coal, but Energy Australia’s Yallourn power station is due to close in 2028 and AGL’s Loy Yang A power station by 2035.