University partners with offshore wind energy developer Flotation Energy to support renewable energy transition
World-leading offshore wind developer Flotation Energy has partnered with the University of Melbourne to support Australia’s transition to renewable energy by producing job-ready graduates and future leaders for the energy sector and to reskill our energy workforce.
The University’s Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Flotation Energy, which has offshore wind projects in Australia, Japan, Taiwan and the United Kingdom, specialising in both bottom-fixed and floating wind farms.
As well as developing students’ and researchers’ skills in the growing renewable energy sector, the partnership will allow Flotation Energy to incorporate cutting-edge research into their processes, design and training. The partnership will also involve the development of Victoria’s first offshore wind farms, Flotation Energy’s Seadragon project, which is expected to commence construction in Bass Strait in 2028.
Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology Acting Dean Professor Frank Vetere said the partnership with Flotation Energy paves the way for innovation, education and research to advance Australia’s clean energy transition.
“Offshore wind energy will become an important new clean industry for Australia. Flotation Energy’s goals align strongly with our mission to help solve major societal challenges. By pooling our expertise, not only will we be supporting offshore wind energy production and reducing Australia’s carbon emissions, we’ll also be preparing job-ready graduates and future leaders for this exciting new renewable energy industry.
“We can also help upskill the local energy workforce to translate their skills to work in the renewable energy sector,” Professor Vetere said.
Flotation Energy acting Australian Managing Director Carolyn Sanderssaid the partnership will help achieve a ‘win-win’ outcome for both Australia and Floatation Energy.
"This MOU is research and industry at its best - a clear example of how education, training and skills can be delivered in a tailored and demand-driven way directly to industry,” Ms Sanders said.
“Through the MOU, we have already begun workshops to plan joint projects. The University of Melbourne has internationally recognised research expertise in many areas relevant to our sector, and our MOU will strengthen technical skills and know-how to ensure we have a workforce that can deliver offshore wind to Australia”.
The Flotation Energy team also conceived and delivered Kincardine in Scotland, the world’s largest operational offshore floating wind farm.
University of Melbourne Associate Professor in Spatial Information, Martin Tomko, one of the instigators of the partnership, who will lead several collaborative projects emerging from the MOU, said students and academics from several disciplines will also have opportunities to participate in the Seadragon development in Bass Strait.
“They will gain valuable exposure and skills in many facets of the offshore wind sector, including structural and digital infrastructure engineering, sea floor mapping and environmental monitoring,” Associate Professor Tomko said.
The Seadragon development in Bass Strait, expected to be operational from 2030, will be one of Australia’s first offshore windfarms, situated adjacent to oil and gas platforms. The 1.5GW project is expected to bring $6 billion of investment into the Gippsland region and forms part of an estimated $40 billion of proposed energy projects that are already creating employment opportunities.
Once developed, it is expected to power up to one million homes.