Oceanex Energy chief executive Andy Evans declares Bunbury and WA ‘almost handmade’ for offshore wind energy

Headshot of Sean Van Der Wielen
Sean Van Der WielenSouth Western Times
Oceanex Energy chief executive Andy Evans.
Camera IconOceanex Energy chief executive Andy Evans. Credit: Supplied

The South West region and Western Australia is “almost handmade” for the development of the country’s offshore windfarm industry.

That is the view of one of the country’s leading proponents of the renewable energy technology as his company investigates the possibility of establishing a wind farm off the Bunbury coast.

Melbourne-based company Oceanex Energy is proposing a 2000MW wind farm consisting of about 100 turbines located 30km off the shoreline, with electricity to be delivered back to shore by subsea cables.

Its chief executive Andy Evans said there were a number of factors which made the region stand out for offshore wind power generation.

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“The wind resource is incredible,” he said.

“It’s realistically the best in Australia coming off the South West coast from the Indian Ocean, but also looking at Bunbury and around the whole South West, you’ve got existing industries, you’ve got a capability to be able to conduct large projects and you’ve got a fantastic deepwater port in Bunbury as well.”

Mr Evans described Western Australia as having a different mindset and skill set than other States which suit it for large projects such as offshore windfarm developments.

“If we walk into the Victorian Government or the New South Wales Government and say we want to build a $10 billion offshore windfarm, it is by far the biggest private sector project,” he said.

“If we go in with a $10b offshore windfarm (in WA), it’s the 10th to 20th-largest project with mining and offshore oil and gas included, so no one baulks at these sorts of projects.

“It is pretty much in WA’s DNA. “

Oceanex’s proposed Bunbury offshore windfarm is one of three which are currently on the cards for the South West coastline.

FILE - Two of the offshore wind turbines which have been constructed off the coast of Virginia Beach, Va. are viewed June 29, 2020. State regulators on Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, approved an application from Dominion Energy Virginia to build an enormous offshore wind farm off the coast of Virginia Beach and recover the cost from ratepayers. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)
Camera IconOceanex Energy is one of three proponents who are investigating building wind farms off the Bunbury coast. Credit: Steve Helber/AP

Danish company Copenhagen Energy is evaluating a 3-gigawatt system located between 15km and 75km off the coastline while the Myalup Offshore Windfarm Project, a joint venture between German-based Skyborn Renewables and Britain’s Australis Energy, is planning 300MW of wind power generation 5.5km offshore.

Mr Evans said the company’s turbines would be located further out to sea than some of the other proponents.

“It’ll be very minimal visibility on the clearest of days, so we’re always very conscious of minimising visual issues,” he said.

The Indian Ocean coast between Perth and Bunbury was identified as a potential offshore wind energy location by the Federal Government last year, with public consultation on whether to formally declare the area suitable for development set to begin in November.

The declaration would allow detailed feasibility studies to be undertaken in the area.

Oceanex is now looking at opening an office in WA, which Mr Evans expects to open early next year.

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