The Federal Government has blocked part of a development proposal for Australia’s first offshore wind farm over environmental concerns.

The Victorian Government had planned to build a port and warehouse facility to support a renewable wind farm, off the southeast coast of Victoria.

However, Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek has rejected the proposed terminal over concerns of an “unavoidable” impact on environmentally-protected waterways and native species.

First, wind farms
Offshore wind farms are built in oceans or large bodies of water. They work by converting energy from strong winds into electricity.
They generate more electricity than onshore wind farms because winds over water are typically stronger and more constant.
Wind farms are also more effective offshore than on land because they use larger and more powerful turbines (machines with rotor blades that capture the wind’s energy).

The Victorian Government said it wants to develop offshore wind farms as part of its transition to renewable energy sources.
Last year, it announced plans for the Victorian Renewable Energy Terminal at the Port of Hastings. However, the proposal needed Federal Government approval before it could go ahead.

The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water rejected the plans last month – arguing building and operating the site would cause ecological harm.
Plibersek said construction of the terminal would “destroy” or “substantially modify” the protected wetlands, and concluded the proposal was “clearly unacceptable”.
She added that the site risked harming “critical” marine species and key habitats for migratory birds.

Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan said the State Government was “unhappy” with the decision, “particularly because the Federal Government itself has set very strong renewable energy targets and we have strong renewable energy targets”.
Allan said her government will review Plibersek’s decision and consider its options. Hastings is listed as the Government’s preferred primary port, and it’s looking into secondary port options in Geelong and northern Tasmania.