Flotation Energy, developer of the 1.5GW Seadragon Offshore Wind Project has signed a $22m contract with RPS to commence its 2.5 year programme of environmental surveys in the Bass Strait region. While licensees are still to be announced, Flotation Energy has been active in the Gippsland region since 2019 and is ensuring that it can deliver its project by 2030 by commencing its environmental surveys now.
Carolyn Sanders, Flotation Energy Australia’s Head of Operations said: “Flotation Energy has been active in the Gippsland region since 2019 – engaging with the community on offshore wind and using our global expertise to ensure smooth and efficient project delivery.” “A significant part of this is commencing environmental surveys now so our project can be delivered on schedule, and as promised – by 2030 – to deliver power to one million homes. The Gippsland region has a wealth of renewable energy resources and a 50-year energy legacy to draw upon.
“Our project will bring over $6 billion of investment into the region. This forms part of an estimated $40 billion of proposed energy projects that are already creating employment opportunities and will ultimately lead to a construction boom and long-term operation and maintenance jobs. Flotation Energy has grown rapidly for a developer – from two people in 2021 to a team of 18 in Australia, we are committed to bringing our expertise in the UK offshore wind industry to benefit Australia’s energy transition.”
The surveys have been designed to characterise all aspects of the unique Bass Strait marine environment, including its use by whales, seals and other marine mammals, fish and sharks, seabirds, shorebirds and migratory birds. The surveys will involve tagging and tracking of mammals, birds and sharks, deployment of passive acoustic monitors to listen for marine mammals, aerial surveys, boat-based surveys, towed video and baited cameras, grab sampling, environmental DNA analysis and metocean monitoring.
The first marine field survey has commenced with Jasco Applied Sciences deploying the passive acoustic monitors (PAMs). PAMs record underwater noise and will play a significant role in helping understand how marine mammals such as whales and dolphins use the proposed project area and the wider region.
Collection of all this data will ensure the project is designed to minimise environmental impact and will be used for environmental approvals.
Flotation Energy has already delivered 3GW of offshore wind in the UK, and most recently, the world’s largest floating grid-connected offshore windfarm, Kincardine, off Scotland.