Plans for Australia’s first offshore wind farm moved into sharper focus with a deal to design the onshore system that will move its power to the electricity grid.

The developer of the 2GW Star of the South wind farm hired engineering consultancy WSP to work on the project’s onshore transmission network and grid connection.

Star of the South plans to be operating as early as 2027 at its site off Gippsland in the state of Victoria. Offshore studies are already underway for the project. If feasible the wind farm could supply about one-fifth of Victoria’s power needs, its project company – which is backed by global offshore wind investor Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) – has previously said.

The Australian government earlier this year opened talks over a policy framework to underpin offshore wind development off its coasts, in a move welcomed by the nation’s fledgling industry as a signal that it has a long-term future down under.

Andy Evans, the former Star of the South CEO who launched the project and now leads industry group Offshore Wind Australia, in a recent article for Recharge said the sector represents a “golden opportunity” for the nation as it looks to transition from coal and other fossil fuels.

Offshore Wind Australia was due to hold its first conference devoted to the sector on 2 April, but that has now been postponed to 1 October due to the global coronavirus crisis.