Alinta Energy, an Australian green energy company, has announced its plans to build a 1,000 MW wind farm 10 kilometres off the coast of Portland, in southwestern Victoria, to serve the Portland Aluminium Smelter and the east coast electricity system.

The Spinifex Offshore Wind Farm would connect to the grid through the Aluminium Smelter, making it one of Australia’s first smelters to run entirely on renewable energy. Up to $4 billion in investment is planned to create new wind farm building and operation employment, as well as boost the site’s job security.

As per the company’s statement, Portland Bay has an excellent wind resource that would be suitable to power offshore wind turbines. The company is deploying monitoring equipment to ensure that’s also the case across the investigation area.

In November 2021, the Australian Parliament announced a package of new laws establishing the regulatory framework for electricity infrastructure projects in Commonwealth waters. The bills passed the final stage of approval in the Senate recently. These include the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Bill 2021 which will allow the government to designate areas in Commonwealth waters more than three miles offshore for wind energy development. Additionally, the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure (Regulatory Levies) Bill 2021 will allow for the imposition of levies on regulated entities to recover the regulatory costs.

REGlobal’s Views: Such projects will help decarbonise the energy intensive metals industry. Further, Australia with its vast coastline has immense potential for development of offshore wind power projects that can help the country accelerate its energy transition.