Posted by David Fallick

Last Tuesday evening after the Club’s AGM, in excess of forty members and guests, were treated to a highly professional presentation by Naomi Campbell on the new-to-Australia power generation from offshore wind farms.

Naomi has brought to Australia a wealth of knowledge derived from her many years working in this challenging industry in the UK and Europe, including some of the largest infrastructure projects. She and her husband moved here in 2019 after Naomi joined Copenhagen Offshore Partners as a director and was assigned to work with Star of the South, this country’s first huge wind farm which will be located off the East Gippsland coast.

As Development Director she was responsible for the direction and management of the Approvals and Lands Team. Star of the South will be the first of six locations around Australia’s coast approved by the commonwealth government for the development of offshore windfarms. Victoria is currently leading the race thanks to the targets set by the state government; at least 2GW by 2032 and 9GW by2045.

We all gained a far better understanding of the extensive, time-consuming environmental and physical scoping, including seven years of feasibility studies and consultation with local communities, which has to be undertaken before any actual construction commences. Also, because turbines, in common with so many other areas of technology, are evolving so rapidly, the final decision on these is still to be made, however the route of the underground power lines has been decided. As the ageing coal-fired power stations in the Latrobe Valley are decommissioned, the Star of the South’s power will replace them and link into the grid utilising the existing 500Kv power lines.

The number and content of the questions at the end of Naomi’s address was indicative of how effectively she had engaged with those present. We were left in no doubt of her lifelong passion for renewable energy and offshore wind in particular.

Our speaker has now set-up her own independent consultancy confident in the immense but largely untapped potential for offshore wind in this country. We wish her every success.