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RPS gears up for Phase Two of collaborative environmental program for offshore wind industry in Victoria

After the successful launch of the Victorian Regional Marine Environmental Baseline Studies (RMEBS-Victoria) program, expressions of interest are now open for additional developers to join Phase Two of the program.   

09 May 2024 | 4 min read

New offshore wind partners being welcomed into RMEBS program

In November 2023, RPS announced the introduction of the Victorian Regional Marine Environmental Baseline Studies (RMEBS) program, in a move to create a pro-active, collaborative, industry-led approach to environmental baseline surveys, in support of regulatory approvals, across the emerging offshore wind industry in Victoria. 

Six months into the program, and following the award of feasibility licences for Australia’s first offshore wind farms in Gippsland, RPS is now transitioning into RMEBS-Victoria Phase Two. We are inviting expressions of interest from developers who would like to take part in the next stage of the program. This will involve detailed planning and preparation of marine baseline studies to inform project environmental assessments across Victoria, including the Southern Ocean Zone and potentially northern Tasmania. 

Covering key parts of Victoria’s offshore waters, where offshore wind farm development is being proposed (including cable route corridors), RMEBS sets out to create shared access to important regional-scale ecological data that will inform developers on ways to better understand and protect the environment. 

Key features of the program are to collect data at regional scales, which reflects the movements and behaviours of protected marine species and to reduce costs for individual developers by sharing resources, realising synergies, and eliminating the duplication of survey effort by developers. 

RPS’ Technical Director, Dr Christine Lamont says, after the resounding success of Phase One of the program, which involved initial planning and coordination with the six offshore wind developer participants, we’re expecting a new wave of applications from offshore wind developers keen to join Australia’s first industry-led program of its kind. 

“Phase One has just been completed and the program has been really successful. We designed the delivery framework, and finalised early baseline study scoping with RPS experts and a range of subject matter experts across academia, consultancy, and government, while ensuring that the six offshore wind companies taking part in the program to-date have been empowered to make effective decisions. The RMEBS framework has supported efficient and fair collaboration among those companies.” 

“In Phase Two, we’ll finalise the study scopes and delivery framework to suit all participants, with detailed design, contracting, and safety planning. We’ll then get out there and execute the studies. So, the program is progressing really well – and we’re expecting to see new recruits now that licences have been awarded.” 

RPS is keen to hear from offshore wind developers who would like to be part of the program. 

“We invite contact from developers who want to contribute to Australia’s first collaborative environmental program focussed on offshore wind. We welcome expressions of interest for the next phase of the program and will provide detailed briefings as requested.”  

Dr Lamont attributes the huge success of Phase One of the program to it being industry-led. 

“What’s unique about this program is that it kicked-off with industry stakeholders defining what their needs are. Other collaborations have often been driven by academics or researchers, or government. However, RPS put the focus on industry needs from the get-go, and the results and pace of progress have been nothing short of impressive.” 

The RMEBS program has brought together Australia’s leading experts, to ensure studies are well designed to deliver relevant and high-quality data in the challenging offshore environment. 

RPS’ National Marine Sciences Lead, Jeremy Fitzpatrick says taking a collaborative approach with multi-disciplinary experts and specialist biologists, focused on knowledge gaps at regional scales, will deliver independent and rigorous scientific outcomes, allowing consistency in environmental assessments, and earning the respect of regulators and community stakeholders.  

“RPS has played a crucial role in bringing together developers, academics, researchers, scientific experts, regulators and technical specialists to augment our experienced internal team of marine science experts.” 

“The RMEBS program considers how offshore wind infrastructure can exist, with the least environmental impact.”    

“This collaboration allows us to put an environmental impact assessment focus on the studies, through a regulatory risk lens. For instance, we’ll be providing the data that underpins the design of the mitigation strategies for offshore windfarms, and in fact the design of the offshore windfarms in the first instance,” he adds. 

According to Jeremy, the program has also received broad government support from all Commonwealth and state agencies engaged to date. 

“We engaged with government to identify any potential duplication and synergies with existing research programs, and we’ve addressed some key research priorities outlined by government.” 

To express your interest to join the program get in touch with Christine or Jeremy

Find out more about the initiative, and how you can take a spot on the program: rmebs.secretariat.rpsinternal@rpsgroup.com.au 

About RPS

Founded in 1970, RPS, A Tetra Tech Company (RPS) is a leading global professional services firm of 5,000 consultants and service providers. Operating in 125 countries, working across six continents we define, design and manage projects that create shared value to a complex, urbanising and resource-scarce world.

RPS delivers a broad range of services in six sectors: property, energy, transport, water, defence and government services and resources. Services provided across RPS' six sectors cover twelve service clusters: project and program management, design and development, water services, environment, advisory and management consulting, exploration and development, planning and approvals, health, safety and risk, oceans and coastal, laboratories, training and communications, creative and digital services.

RPS stands out for its clients by using its deep expertise to solve problems that matter, making them easy to understand. Making complex easy.

For further information, please visit www.rpsgroup.com.