Australis Energy has announced that its wholly owned Australian subsidiary, VIC Offshore Windfarm Pty Ltd, has submitted referrals to the Victorian State and Commonwealth governments under their respective environmental legislation,for its VIC Offshore Windfarm Project.
The Project is currently in the pre-planning application stage. If approved, early construction work could begin in the Australian summer 2024/25 and the project could be completed and operational in summer 2026/27. The Company has submitted a referral to the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning ('DELWP') under the Environmental Effects Act 1978 ('EEAct')(1). In addition, the Company has also submitted a referral under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 ('EPBC Act') to the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment(2).
Assuming an assessment will be required under the EPBC Act, the next key milestone for the Project will be a bi-lateral agreement betweenthe State and Federal authorities with respect to the Environmental Assessment for the Project and the issue of combined Scoping Requirements.
Once the combined Scoping Requirements for the Project havebeen agreed,the Environmental Impact Assessment ('EIA') process can begin, involving surveys and wider stakeholder engagement.There will be a number of opportunities for the public to provide feedback on the assessment of the Project during the EIA phase.
Other assessment and approvals required for the Project include planning approval under the Victorian Planning and Environment Act 1987, heritage approvals under the Heritage Act 2017 and Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 and consent under the Marine and Coastal Act 2018.
Commenting on the news, Mark Petterson, Chairman of Australis said:
'We are delighted to have reached this milestone in the project.We look forward to working with DELWP and other government departments as we progress the project through the environmental approvals process. Subject to the necessary consents and permits being obtained, the project will have a renewable electricity generation capacity of up to 495MW, enough to power over 330,000 Victorian homes.The electricity generated by the proposed offshore windfarm will support the Victorian Government’s target of 50% renewables by 2030.'