The proposals for an offshore wind farm zone off the coast of the Illawarra have excited and divided the community.
Consultation on the zone remains open until November 15 after which a final zone could be declared and prospective wind farm developers invited to apply for a feasibility licence.
Any successful developer would then need to pass through separate federal and state environmental approvals processes. The first wind turbines are not expected to appear on the horizon before 2030.
Despite this, a number of companies have already expressed an interest in developing offshore wind farms in the Illawarra. Below we break down, in alphabetical order, who these companies are.
BlueFloat Energy is proposing the South Pacific Offshore Wind project. The proposal would provide 1600 megawatts of power - enough to power 825,000 homes - from 105 floating turbines arranged between Sehllharbour and Clifton.
BlueFloat Energy is based in Spain and its main shareholder is US-based investment firm 547 Energy, the clean energy investment platform of private equity Quantum Capital Group. Quantum Capital Group was founded in 1998 by Wil VanLoh to provide capital to entrepreneurs in the oil and gas sector but has increasingly targeted sustainable energy projects.
BlueFloat Energy is led by CEO Carlos Martin Rivals, who previously was director of floating offshore wind for Spanish utility EDP Renewables. The company's Australian operations are led out of Melbourne by Nick Sandkey, who according to his LinkedIn profile spent 15 years at Commonwealth Bank, finishing up as global head of project finance at the bank, overseeing project finance to companies in the utilities, infrastructure and natural resources industries.
The Illawarra Offshore Wind project, a rival to the South Pacific Offshore Wind project, is a joint venture between Australian company Oceanex and Norwegian energy giant Equinor.
Oceanex, based in Melbourne, led by CEO Andy Evans who was the co-founder of the Star of the South project, the most advanced offshore wind project in Australia, which has been granted a feasibility licence by the federal government to explore the installation of offshore wind turbines off the south coast of Gippsland.
Oceanex's CEO Andy Evans began his career as a lawyer, including stints at MinterEllison and in-house at BHP and Spanish infrastructure major Acciona, before moving into the clear energy sector, according to his Linkedin profile.
Oceanex's partner is Norwegian state-owned energy company Equinor. The company is primarily engaged in the oil and gas sector however is also the part-owner and developer of a number of offshore wind projects in Europe and North America. Equinor owns and operates the Hywind Scotland floating offshore wind farm, the world's first commercial floating wind farm.
While a quieter player in the field of companies vying for involvement in the Illawarra offshore wind zone, Spark Renewables announced its intent in March this year.
Spark Renewables owns the Bomen Solar Farm in Wagga Wagga and is the renewables arm of Spark Infrastructure, which is owned by US investment firm KKR and Canadian super funds Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and Public Sector Pension Investment Board.
Alongside Spark Renewables is Irish offshore wind developer Simply Blue Group, which is backed by British Octopus Energy Group, an arm of Octopus Group, a privately owned investment fund.
Also involved is Subsea 7, a European offshore engineering firm that provides services to the offshore energy industry. The company is traded on the Oslo stock exchange and its largest shareholder is Siem Industries, a European offshore energy services company.
Read more: Illawarra offshore wind zone
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