Star of the South

RPS is providing environmental services and planning expertise to support Australia’s first offshore wind project – Star of the South. 

Challenge

Initially commissioned by Copenhagen Offshore Partners (COP) in 2017, RPS provided a high-level due diligence report to identify any potential environmental or consenting risks associated with the project proposal. Now in the early feasibility phase, our team is supporting Star of the South with its offshore approvals and environmental impact assessment (EIA) work, including designing and managing the project's Marine Ecology Survey Program.


If approved, Star of the South would offer a clean and reliable source of energy for the state of Victoria, with the capacity to power up to 1.2 million homes.

Australian Fur Seals on Kanowna Island, Victoria

Australian Fur Seals at Kanowa Island

Solution

Star of the South's Marine Ecology Survey Program is part of baseline environmental studies that are informing the project's impact assessment and feeding into State and Commonwealth approvals processes—the Environmental Effects Statement (EES) and Commonwealth Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). 

The studies we are undertaking for Star of the South document marine mammals (such as whales, dolphins and seals), along with seabirds and shorebirds, fish communities and sharks, and benthic habitats (ocean floor animals and sediments) across different seasons. The program also includes the deployment of wave and current meters to inform a coastal processes assessment.

RPS has partnered with local universities and research institutions in the design and execution of the Marine Ecological Survey Program, with survey designs peer-reviewed by independent experts.

Our team has also been appointed as the lead offshore approvals consultant for Star of the South, and has delivered the first stage approval submission—project referrals to the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments. 

 

Underwater environments explored

This underwater vision was captured as part of the 2020 summer fish surveys. Close encounters between octopus and shark!

A curious interaction between octopus and shark captured during the summer fish surveys in 2020

Project timeline

An overview of our work to date on Star of the South.

  • 2017

    RPS delivered a high-level due diligence study to identify any potential environmental/approvals risks and an overview of the environmental permitting/consenting processes. 

  • 2018

    RPS continued to provide ad hoc strategic advice to the project along with an evaluation of potential baseline studies that would be required for marine mammals, seabirds, shorebirds, and bats. 

  • 2019

    RPS was appointed to:

    • provide early approvals advice
    • prepare environmental approvals (EPBC referral and MACA consent) for geophysical and geotechnical surveys
    • Design and deliver Marine Ecology Survey Program—all marine environmental surveys
    • Act as offshore approvals consultant to deliver EIA and other offshore approvals.
  • 2020

    RPS delivers:

    • Year 1 of the Marine Ecology Survey Program including baseline studies (marine mammals, seabirds and shorebirds, benthic ecology, fish, fisheries, and coastal processes)
    • Early stages of the Offshore Approvals and EIA (EPBC and Environment Effects  Act referrals), scoping documentation, and consultation.
  • 2021

    RPS delivers:

    • Continuation of the Marine Ecology Survey Program for a second year
    • The Offshore Approvals and EIA including initial impact assessment work and regulator engagement for the coastal and marine components.
  • 2022

    RPS delivers:

    • The finalisation of the Marine Ecology Survey Program
    • Preparation of offshore technical assessments for the EES and EIS 
1 /06
2017

RPS delivered a high-level due diligence study to identify any potential environmental/approvals risks and an overview of the environmental permitting/consenting processes. 

2018

RPS continued to provide ad hoc strategic advice to the project along with an evaluation of potential baseline studies that would be required for marine mammals, seabirds, shorebirds, and bats. 

2019

RPS was appointed to:

  • provide early approvals advice
  • prepare environmental approvals (EPBC referral and MACA consent) for geophysical and geotechnical surveys
  • Design and deliver Marine Ecology Survey Program—all marine environmental surveys
  • Act as offshore approvals consultant to deliver EIA and other offshore approvals.
2020

RPS delivers:

  • Year 1 of the Marine Ecology Survey Program including baseline studies (marine mammals, seabirds and shorebirds, benthic ecology, fish, fisheries, and coastal processes)
  • Early stages of the Offshore Approvals and EIA (EPBC and Environment Effects  Act referrals), scoping documentation, and consultation.
2021

RPS delivers:

  • Continuation of the Marine Ecology Survey Program for a second year
  • The Offshore Approvals and EIA including initial impact assessment work and regulator engagement for the coastal and marine components.
2022

RPS delivers:

  • The finalisation of the Marine Ecology Survey Program
  • Preparation of offshore technical assessments for the EES and EIS 

COVID-safe surveys

A key challenge for investigations in 2020 was the restriction of travel and movement due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. We worked closely with Star of the South and survey partners to ensure investigations could progress while adhering to social distancing guidelines and government health advice. 


 

Sounds of the sea

This audio of humpback and dwarf minke whale calls was captured as part of our marine ecology survey program.

Dwarf minke whale

RPS at work for Star of the South

  • Benthic survey 2020

    Offshore work for Star of the South project in 2020.

    01 /03
    Offshore work - benthic surveys for Star of the South
  • Benthic survey 2020

    Team prepares to head offshore for benthic environmental survey in late 2020

    02 /03
    Team prepares for benthic survey for Star of the South project
  • Fish surveys

    Underwater vision captured as part of the summer fish surveys in 2020.

    03 /03
    Underwater vision captured as part of the Star of the South summer fish surveys in 2020

Contact us

Penny Pickett, Senior Executive - Environment and Renewables, Melbourne, Australia

Penny Pickett

Senior Executive - Environment and Renewables +61 3 9417 9700 EMAIL
Melbourne | Australia
Tamara Al-Hashimi

Tamara Al-Hashimi

Principal Scientist +61 8 9211 1111 EMAIL
Perth - West Perth | Australia

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