The Australian Government has designated a new offshore wind zone in the Southern Ocean off western Victoria – the third such zone in the country.

The new zone will boost onshore manufacturing in the state through the provision of cleaner, more affordable energy.

The Southern Ocean offshore wind zone will produce 2.9GW of wind energy, sufficient to power two million homes.

The establishment of the new industry will create 1,740 jobs during the construction phase and 870 permanent roles in operations in the Portland area.

Following comprehensive community engagement with local leaders, industry stakeholders and community groups, the final designated area has been set at 1,030km² – one-fifth of the size initially proposed.

The zone is situated between 15 and 20km offshore Victoria and has been adjusted to exclude areas offshore South Australia.

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Australian Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen stated: “The Southern Ocean offshore wind zone has the potential to create thousands of new, high-value jobs and help secure cleaner, cheaper, more reliable energy for regional Victoria.

“Australia has abundant renewable energy, the cheapest form of energy, and the government is committed to helping Australians benefit from these natural resources, including offshore wind.”

Applications for feasibility licences for offshore wind projects within the Southern Ocean zone will be accepted between 6 March and 2 July 2024.

Developers are required to conduct thorough environmental assessments and continue consultations, particularly regarding the integration of the projects with existing shipping, tourism and fishing activities.

Construction is contingent upon completion of the feasibility stage, with developers required to secure further environmental and management plan approvals.

The new zone follows the earlier declarations of suitable areas in Gippsland, Victoria, and in Hunter, New South Wales (NSW).

In July 2023, the Australian Government announced an offshore wind development zone in the Pacific Ocean off the Hunter region of NSW that can generate 5GW of energy.

Australian energy company Corio Generation has entered into a memorandum of understanding with Vietnam Electricity subsidiary EVNGENCO3 to develop offshore wind farms in Vietnam.

Corio Generation is developing three offshore wind projects in the country with 4.5GW of combined capacity. The projects are located in the provinces of Binh Thuan, Haiphong and Ba Ria-Vung Tau.