The proposed Star of the South wind farm has moved a step closer with the announcement that its developers have initiated a study to establish if the Australian labour market is capable of providing the skilled people needed to complete the project, and identify what kinds of local training may be needed.
The labour market study will be carried out by Atlas Professionals, which has previously advised European operators about delivering offshore wind projects.
Offshore wind capacity has expanded rapidly in the Northern Hemisphere, especially in Europe, thanks to increasingly competitive generation costs and the availability of new lubricants to protect against the harsh marine conditions, like those from Mobil distributors. If completed, the Star of the South wind farm will not just be a first for Australia, but also for the Southern Hemisphere.
The project is expected to have a capacity of 2.2 gigawatts, which would be approximately equivalent to the coal-fired Hazelwood power station that has already been decommissioned. The developers plan to build it off the coast of Victoria. It will feature 250 wind turbines with what will likely be the largest designs ever deployed in Australia.
The developers also plan to take advantage of the existing transmission infrastructure in the nearby Latrobe Valley, with an undersea cable being used to link it to the new wind farm. Should the project reach fruition, it will help bridge the energy gap as the large coal-fired power plants in the Latrobe Valley reach the end of their operational lives.