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Feasibility of offshore wind in Australia

Batchelor, Meg (2012) Feasibility of offshore wind in Australia. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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There is no offshore wind industry in Australia at present; however, offshore wind could have great potential. There is no published discussion of the economics of offshore wind on a national scale in Australia, so this paper offers analysis which may inform future policy and technology discussions.

The main purpose of this study is to determine the economic viability of offshore wind in Australia, and consider the effect that policy has on the future viability of this technology in Australia.

The analysis of the economic feasibility indicates that offshore wind is generally twice the cost of onshore wind but that there is a lot less certainty in offshore wind costs than for onshore wind. Offshore wind developments however are typically cheaper than large-scale solar PV and Thermal. The expected cost of offshore wind in Australia in 2012 is between $100-330/MWh in Australian 2012 dollars.

This report finds that offshore wind is cheaper than some competing technologies including most large-scale solar PV and thermal developments. There are also a number of suitable locations for development of offshore wind in Australia. The policy framework at present is uncertain, but there exists a number of schemes that could be applicable to offshore wind, making it feasible to incorporate offshore wind into the renewable energy supply using the usual funding and finance models.

This dissertation finds that while there are many uncertainties, offshore wind development is feasible in Australia given the existing conditions.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Energy
Supervisor(s): Whale, Jonathan
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