Large floating wind farms are being deliberate off the coast of Australia

Floating wind farm is installed.

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Plans have been announced for three major offshore wind developments in Australia, two of which will incorporate floating wind technology.

In a statement on Wednesday, BlueFloat Energy, headquartered in Madrid, said it would develop the projects with consultancy Energy Estate, which is present in the Australian cities of Sydney, Canberra and Adelaide.

The proposed facilities are the 1.4 gigawatts Hunter Coast offshore wind project, which would be located in waters off Newcastle, New South Wales; the Wollongong Offshore Wind Project, which will have a capacity of 1.6 GW and will be spread over two sites off Wollongong, New South Wales; and the 1.3 GW Greater Gippsland offshore wind project planned for waters off the Gippsland region of Victoria.

According to BlueFloat Energy, the Hunter Coast and Wollongong projects will use floating wind technology. The Greater Gippsland wind farm will be a ground-based development.

“Offshore wind power is booming around the world and now it is time for Australia,” said Carlos Martin, CEO of BlueFloat Energy, in a statement.

“We are excited about the prospect of introducing the two types of offshore wind technology … in Australia as it will allow us to take advantage of some of the best offshore wind resources in the world.”

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A report from the Global Wind Energy Council found that 6.1 GW of offshore wind capacity was installed in 2020, a small decrease from 6.24 GW in 2019.

The GWEC report released earlier this year predicts that over 235 GW of offshore wind capacity will be installed over the next decade, with total capacity reaching 270 GW by 2030.

Australia currently has no offshore wind farms. Towards the end of November, Parliament approved laws that authorities said would “support the development of Australia’s offshore energy industry and create new jobs and investments in offshore wind farms and transmission projects”.

In a statement, Angus Taylor, Australia’s Minister for Industry, Energy and Emission Reduction, said the legislation would “accelerate a number of key projects that are already under development”.

This includes Star of the South, another offshore wind farm proposed for waters off the Gippsland coast. Those behind the project say the facility will provide electricity to around 1.2 million homes in Victoria state when Star of the South is “developed to its full potential.”

In the past few years several companies have dealt with floating offshore wind projects.

Back in 2017 Norway Equinor opened Hywind Scotland, a 30 megawatt facility it calls “the first full-scale floating offshore wind farm”.

Then, in September 2021, another Norwegian company, Statkraft, said that a long-term purchase agreement regarding a floating offshore wind farm is considered “largest in the world” had started.

Elsewhere, RWE Renewables and Kansai Electric Power announced in August that they had signed an agreement The “feasibility of a large floating offshore wind project” in waters off Japan’s coast is being examined.

Floating offshore wind turbines are different from ground-mounted offshore wind turbines, which are anchored in the seabed. One advantage of floating turbines is that they can be installed in deeper waters compared to floor-mounted turbines.

RWE described floating turbines as “mounted on floating structures attached to the seabed with mooring lines and anchors”.