Star of the South is Australia’s first offshore wind project. If developed to its full potential, Star of the South would generate up to 2.2 GW of new capacity, powering around 1.2 million homes across the state.
The project includes a transmission network of cables and substations to connect the offshore wind farm to the wider electricity network in Latrobe Valley.
AECOM has been engaged as a planning and environmental advisor to support the development of the project. This work will continue through to 2023.
Services provided to date have involved the development of an Approvals Strategy to identify the most appropriate planning and environment approvals pathway for the project and develop a detailed project schedule to achieve the approvals. As the project is the first of its type in Australia, the development of the Approvals Strategy has involved extensive consultation with regulatory agencies.
AECOM has prepared project referrals in relation to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and Environment Effects Act 1978 to inform government decisions on the approvals process. These referrals, including preliminary ecology, heritage and visual impact assessments were submitted in April 2020. Marine mammal and seabird surveys have also commenced to support forthcoming impact assessments.
Our team has undertaken detailed ecological surveys across three onshore transmission corridor options for the connection of the wind farm to wider electricity transmission network in the Latrobe Valley. This work has contributed to an assessment of the alignment options.
Current tasks include finalisation of a study program and scoping of the specialist assessments required to satisfy Commonwealth and State approvals requirements. These detailed assessments will be undertaken through 2021 and 2022.
Outcomes and Value
The services provided by AECOM so far have identified a suitable pathway for the project to obtain the required planning and environmental approvals. The detailed planning that has been undertaken has enabled Star of the South to identify and actively manage the approvals risks associated with the project.
By providing clear guidance on the approach to planning and environmental approvals based on extensive previous experience, Star of the South has growing confidence in developing and implementing the project.