Posted on July 19, 2023
A consortium consisting of global wind and offshore specialists Simply Blue Group and Subsea7, and local renewable energy developer Spark Renewables will be spearheading the development of the Sea Fern Floating Offshore Wind project in the Commonwealth’s newly declared wind zone in the Pacific Ocean off the Hunter, in New South Wales. The project will have a generation capacity of up to 2 gigawatts (GW).
The name ‘Sea Fern’ was selected for its strong connection to the native flora of the Hunter coast, symbolising values of sustainability, innovation and environmental consciousness, aligning with the consortium’s core principals.
Sea Fern Floating Offshore Wind unites local and global industry leaders, each bringing critical components and renowned expertise to this alliance. This powerful consortium is well-positioned to manage the challenges of developing floating wind technology and realise the ambitious vision of offshore wind power, new economic opportunities for coastal communities, and ‘Just Transition’ from traditional energy sources to a sustainable and low-carbon future.
Simply Blue Group is at the forefront in advancing floating offshore wind projects, which will be vital in unlocking Australia’s deep-water wind resource. With an impressive portfolio of over 10 GW of floating wind under development and successful projects globally they have established themselves as pioneers in the field. Simply Blue Group also develops other blue economy technologies, that might be co-located with offshore wind farms to maximise the utilisation of project sites.
Subsea7 is a trusted leader in delivering offshore projects and services for the energy industry backed by more than a decade of proven offshore wind installations and over 40 years of Australian project experience. With extensive front-end capabilities, project delivery expertise and ownership of a global, highly versatile and capable fleet of installation vessels, they provide a vital piece of the supply chain puzzle. Subsea7 has a strong track record of over 1,000 projects successfully completed and safely delivered worldwide. As a key partner in the project, Subsea7 will be integral to the delivery of Sea Fern Floating Offshore Wind.
Spark Renewables is one of Australia’s premier developers and owners of renewable energy assets, with a proven track record of delivering electricity to the grid. Spark Renewables has a substantial development portfolio spanning solar, wind and battery storage projects. With deep experience in developing onshore renewable projects, they have successfully cultivated robust partnerships with local communities in NSW. Spark Renewables brings invaluable experience to the project for navigating onshore planning requirements and delivering the power to the grid.
Each member of this alliance brings extensive knowledge and achievements, united by a shared vision: to deliver an offshore floating wind project in the Hunter region, which, at its core, maximises long-term opportunities for Australia.
Simply Blue Group and Subsea7 have worked together since 2019 to successfully develop one of Scotland’s most advanced floating offshore wind projects (the Salamander Offshore Wind Farm) and will use this experience to successfully deliver the Sea Fern project in Australia.
Sea Fern Floating Offshore Wind is currently at the inception phase of applying for a Feasibility Licence under the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Act 2021. A Feasibility Licence, if granted, will enable the project team to consult and work collaboratively with the community, businesses, and industry.
Simply Blue Group, Subsea7 and Spark Renewables will be working with local specialist contractors to design a stakeholder engagement framework. The Sea Fern Floating Offshore Wind team will seek to listen to and engage with communities to build and maintain a long-term relationship with Newcastle and broader New South Wales.
Within the 7-year Feasibility Licence period the project team would undertake the necessary technical, environmental and social impact studies, approvals and consultation, to ensure the project will be safe and viable.
Success through this process would provide certainty of licencing required for accessing the seabed and represent the start of a long-term project. The development approval would be required by 2030 to start construction, with expected operations running through to the 2060s and beyond.
More information about the project can be found on the website: seafernwind.au