A wind farm with the capability to power more than a million homes is being considered for the ocean off Eden on the NSW Far South Coast.
Currently in the feasibility phase, the Eden Offshore Wind Farm project proposes the installation of wind turbine generators more than 20km off the Eden coastline, south of Green Cape.
According to Australian company Oceanex, initial wind resource assessments have shown that winds off the coast of Eden are some of the strongest and most consistent around Australia, and could provide consistent electricity generation and new opportunities to grow an industry for the region.
Oceanex Energy will introduce the proposal at a briefing on March 22 in Eden, including why the area was selected, the steps required to deliver it, the local benefits it could deliver and how offshore wind can play a major role in Australia's energy transition.
Andy Evans, CEO of Oceanex said while delivery of the project was obviously a long way off, the company was keen to understand how it could fit within the community.
"This is the start of the process and we want to hear people's thoughts from an economic and social perspective," Mr Evans said.
"Eden has pretty much the best offshore location for this in Australia, with wind coming around the south east corner from Bass Strait - it really goes and is consistently blowing."
Oceanex was co-founder of the Star of the South offshore wind farm project which commenced in South Gippsland in Victoria in 2012. The company was looking to progress the development of up to four other similar projects in Australia, including off the coast of Wollongong.
The estimated capital expenditure to construct the floating installation off Eden is $10billion, and Oceanex said the economic opportunities for the region were substantial, with 3000 jobs during the construction phase and 300 jobs during the operational life of the project over 30 years.
Mr Evans said while some people don't like the look of onshore wind farms, the visibility of offshore wind farms was minimal and had the added benefit of strong winds remaining unimpacted by mountains and buildings.
"Global investment in these is increasing, and with so much money tied up in superannuation, companies are looking to spend on decarbonisation projects," Mr Evans said.
Construction is slated to start in 2031 and estimated to take three years, allowing lead time to better develop local capability. It was envisaged a more developed offshore wind industry in NSW and Australia would mean skillsets and training would be in place and could be deployed in the region.
The targeted briefing for stakeholders at this early stage of the proposed project will be jointly hosted by the Eden Chamber of Commerce and Bega-based environmental, planning and social consultancy NGH.
Ben Smith, general manager of communications and social sustainability at NGH said the scheduled briefing is the first of many engagements over an extended period, given the time offshore wind farms take to plan, assess and construct.
"We have been working with Oceanex Energy to help them understand the local strategic and community context for this proposal, " Mr Smith said.
"We work with many renewable energy developers across Australia to ensure their projects meet environmental requirements, while making a positive contribution to local communities.
"We have been really impressed by the huge interest Oceanex has in understanding and contributing to a positive future for Eden and the Bega Valley."
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