Australia’s first offshore wind farm could be built off the Gippsland coast, but it has one Corner Inlet fisherman worried.
Bruce Collis has fished and observed bird colonies in Corner Inlet for decades.
He believes the development would be devastating for migratory bird numbers and wants the development moved away from the entrances to Corner Inlet.
“All up, there are about 45 birds that are in some trouble (here),” Mr Collis said.
“I don’t believe the birds are going to navigate around the wind turbines.
“The only way they could do it is to fly up about 15 kilometres one way or down the other way another 15 kilometres, and then they’ve got to try to navigate through.
“They’ve got nine kilometres of wind turbines which are about 300 metres high, and we believe there will be significant bird kills.”
Mr Collis said the survival of birds was important to the fishery.
“The birds are all part of the ecosystem because the birds arrive here … and they’re such good fishermen that we watch them, and we know where the fish are.”
Work is currently underway on the Star of the South’s environmental studies.
The project’s chief development officer, Erin Coldham, said about 25 studies and reports would be required in total.
“The most important thing we can do is collect the right kind of data to know exactly what’s going on with the birds at the moment,” Ms Coldham said.
“We’re doing a range of studies. Everything from tagging bird species to see exactly where they’re flying and those flight paths.”
Ms Coldham said aerial studies were also taken from aircraft with high-definition cameras and other technologies.
A good wind
A new study into offshore wind farms around the Australian coast confirms Bass Strait is one of many promising locations for offshore wind farms.
CSIRO research scientist Professor Mark Hemer said the Star of the South was the most “mature” of “about a dozen or so offshore wind projects that are at some level of development around Australia”.
Prof Hemer said the Star of the South’s output of around 2.2 gigawatts compared to the total output of Tasmania’s hydroelectric system of around 2.6 gigawatts.
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