Australia’s government formally named the nation’s first offshore wind zone in another milestone for its fast-emerging industry.

The declaration of the Bass Strait off Gippsland in the state of Victoria as the first development zone was accompanied by an award of major project status to the Star of the South, the pioneering development that’s set to become Australia’s first in the water.

Gippsland is one of six areas that Australia said earlier this year it is examining as potential offshore wind zones, and the formal declaration opens the way for developers to begin preparing feasibility licence applications “soon”, said a government statement.

The Bass Strait has been hailed as offering some of the world’s best wind resources, and a string of global players have signalled large-scale development plans in the area.

The Australian government said the declared area of 15,000 square km has the potential to support “more than 10GW of year-round wind energy generation”.

The 2.2GW Star of the South, led by Denmark's CIP, is set to be the first to help Victoria to meet its offshore wind targets – the first set anywhere in Australia – to have 2GW in the water by 2032, 4GW by 2035 and 9GW by 2040, helping meet demand in Melbourne and elsewhere.

Star of the South CEO Charles Rattray said: “With strong winds, existing grid infrastructure and a skilled workforce, Gippsland is ideally positioned to capitalise on the jobs and investment offshore wind will bring to the region.

“This announcement means greater certainty for the industry, local supply chains, and communities as Australia looks to secure a clean energy future.”

Rattray added: “Offshore wind will play a critical role in Australia’s energy system going forward – it is pleasing to receive clarity from government on the boundaries for offshore wind projects, allowing us to take the next steps and continue investing in the region.”