Second wind farm proposal for WA

A second offshore wind farm has been proposed for Western Australia (WA) by Danish renewables specialist, Copenhagen Energy. To be located in Commonwealth and State waters north of Geraldton, the Midwest Offshore Wind Farm will comprise up to 200 turbines and six substations.

Designed to deliver 3GW of electricity, Copenhagen Energy says that it will power 3 million homes for up to 50 years. Annually, it will offset up to 6 million tonnes of CO2 and turbines will be constructed 10-70km off Kalbarri in a project area covering 700km2.

Copenhagen Energy has previously proposed the Leeuwin Offshore Wind Farm for an area between Mandurah and Bunbury, south of WA’s state capital, Perth. The Leeuwin project would be of a similar size — 200 turbines and six substations — to the Midwest.

For every 1GW of power, states Copenhagen Energy, modelling indicates that the Midwest project will create 14,500 direct and indirect jobs during construction and 200 jobs during operation.

The proposal has been submitted to the Federal Department of Water and the Environment for initial assessment under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. Pending approvals, construction would start in 2028 with first power generated in 2030.

According to Jasmin Bejdic, Copenhagen Energy’s CEO, these are “exciting times” for offshore wind farms in WA and Australia.

He described his offshore wind farm proposals as ideally placed to contribute to WA’s future power requirements: “There is increasing focus in Australia on climate action and reducing carbon emissions. Power from offshore wind farms is a clear winner in this regard. WA is uniquely well-positioned to harness wind energy, particularly from offshore wind farms, with Perth being ranked the third windiest city in the world.

Bejdic noted that WA also has ambitious plans for hydrogen production — the environmental potential of which can only really be realised if the process is powered by renewables. This is driving significant and growing demand for green energy, he continued.

“The release of our proposal is just the start of a long process that will involve comprehensive studies to understand the environmental, economic and social impacts of our project,” he said, adding that he and his team will be talking to a range of local, state and federal government agencies as well as local community, tourism and fishing groups about how to develop the project successfully.

At the beginning of August 2022, the Australian Government’s Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water announced that it had officially initiated the process to declare waters in the Bass Strait off Gippsland, Victoria as the country’s first area for the development of offshore wind. This is expected to give greater certainty to the industry, local supply chain and communities. The Minister for Climate Change and Energy, the Hon Chris Bowen, also announced the next zones that will enter the consultation phase, including the Pacific Ocean region of Portland in Victoria, the Bass Strait region off Northern Tasmania and Indian Ocean region off Perth and Bunbury in WA.