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Project overview
  • Lead Organisation

    Spinifex Offshore Wind Farm

    Location

    Victoria

    ARENA Program

    Advancing Renewables Program

  • Start date

    7 June 2022

    End date

    30 September 2024

  • Project Partners
    Alinta Energy, Alcoa Portland Aluminium

Summary

Spinifex (a 100% owned subsidiary of Alinta Energy) will complete a wind resource assessment and initial development activities to improve understanding of the commercial viability of a 1,000 MW offshore wind farm off the coast of Portland, Victoria. Subject to agreement with Alcoa Portland Aluminium, Spinifex is proposed to supply energy to the smelter operations and/or to the National Electricity Market (NEM) via the existing 500kV transmission network from the smelter substation.

Need

Aluminium smelting produces approximately 20.1 Mt CO2-e emissions per annum, which represents approximately 4% of Australia’s GHG emissions. Alcoa’s current operations require low cost electricity to support the ongoing, international competitiveness of aluminium metal production in Australia.

Aluminium smelters have traditionally relied on grid-connected, dispatchable, thermal power generation. Variable renewable generation such as wind and solar has had limited integration with aluminium smelters due the intermittency of renewable generation.

A preliminary desktop analysis conducted by Alinta Energy determined that Portland is an ideal site for an offshore wind farm based on the combination of factors including wind resource, proximity to a network connection and customer load, and suitable site area to host up to 1,000 MW of wind turbine capacity. This offshore wind farm would produce a forecast gross annual energy equivalent to more than 90% of the smelter’s current annual gross electricity demand.

Action

The project includes the following activities:

  • Deploy and operate land-based Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) equipment to validate the wind resource at the proposed site and inform wind yield assessments
  • Commence community and stakeholder engagement
  • Conduct preliminary financial modelling
  • Investigate the regulatory pathway for obtaining feasibility and commercial licences under the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Act 2021 (OEI Act)
  • Scope planning and environmental approvals required for the proposed offshore wind farm.

Outcome

The objectives for the project will be achieved through the following outcomes:

  1. Reduce barriers to offshore wind energy developments by demonstrating a pathway to secure required feasibility licences and commercial licences under the OEI Act
  2. Improve commercial readiness of the proposed offshore wind farm through wind resource measurement and validation and preliminary feasibility analysis
  3. Improve understanding of the requirements for land-based wind resource monitoring and how land-based LiDAR equipment can contribute to developing a bankable data set for offshore wind developments in Australia
  4. Increase knowledge of social licence issues for offshore wind developments in Australia and improve understanding of strategies for effective stakeholder engagement
  5. Improve understanding of the technical and commercial considerations for integrating variable renewable energy generation with a large, continuous industrial load, such as a smelter.

The outcomes of the project will also inform Spinifex’s decision to proceed with further development activities for the proposed offshore wind farm.

Last updated
13 October 2022
Last updated 13 October 2022

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