University of Melbourne partners with Corio Generation to drive education and research in offshore wind

19 April 2024 — Community & Environment | Project Team |
From left: Kate Foster, Regional Stakeholder Manager, Corio Generation; Alex Kuo, Stakeholder Director, Corio Generation; Penny Pickett, Head of Australia, Corio Generation; Professor Frank Vetere, FEIT Deputy Dean (Engagement); Associate Professor Shiaohuey Chow (Infrastructure Engineering); and Professor Thas Nirmalathas, FEIT Interim Dean.

Corio Generation and the University of Melbourne have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a partnership to support the emerging offshore wind industry in Australia.

Corio has one of the world’s largest offshore wind project pipelines, with more than 30 GW in development across Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Americas. Its project portfolio spans established and emerging markets, as well as floating and fixed-foundation technologies, which will help form the backbone of the net-zero, global energy system.

The MoU outlines a range of collaboration initiatives for academic and research activities, including knowledge sharing for marine science, transmission, climate, environment and associated technologies related to offshore wind in Australia.

The partnership also looks to provide work experience opportunities and will see the two organisations work together to develop education programmes that help establish and benefit the new industry.

At the official signing of the MOU, held at the University’s digital innovation and entrepreneurial precinct, Melbourne Connect, on Thursday 18 April, Penny Pickett, Corio’s Head of Australia, said: “We are thrilled to enter this long-term partnership with one of Australia’s top universities.”

“This partnership highlights our commitment to the University of Melbourne and other education partners as we build industry capability, while ensuring we have suitable curriculum pathways for our local students,” Ms Pickett added.

Interim Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, Professor Thas Nirmalathas, said that offshore wind energy will become an important energy choice for Australia.

“This partnership with Corio Generation will help to advance Australia’s clean energy transition,” Professor Nirmalathas said.

“Corio’s goals align strongly with our mission to help solve major societal challenges. By working together, not only will we be supporting offshore wind energy production and reducing Australia’s carbon emissions, we will also be preparing graduates and future leaders for this exciting new renewable energy industry.”

While offshore wind is new to Australia, it is set to play a critical role in the nation’s energy mix as the Federal Government aims to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Corio Generation, a portfolio company of Macquarie Asset Management, is presently developing Great Eastern Offshore Wind – a 2.5 GW fixed-bottom offshore wind project, located 22 km off the coast in central Gippsland, Victoria. Subject to the award of a feasibility licence and approvals, the project is expected to begin construction in 2028 and start operating in 2032. It will then be operational for 30+ years.

Great Eastern Offshore Wind will be tapping into the region’s existing skills and experience from local industries to support the development, construction and operation of the project. A key aim of the project will be to build local capacity and generate long-lasting benefits for local communities.

Ms Penny Pickett and Professor Frank Vetere signing the MOU.