In a major development for the Australian renewables sector, the federal government has recently announced that it has begun the consultation process to declare an area off the coast of Gippsland, Victoria as Australia’s first offshore wind zone under its new Offshore Electricity Infrastructure framework.
This is a significant opportunity for offshore wind farm developers and other industry stakeholders, who are now able to provide their feedback on the possible effects of future offshore renewable energy projects (including wind) in the proposed Gippsland zone. Submissions must be received by 7 October 2022.
The government also announced five other zones which it expects to begin consultation on over the next 18 months, being regions off the coast of the Hunter and Illawarra in New South Wales, Portland in Victoria, Northern Tasmania and Perth and Bunbury in Western Australia.
As part of the government’s announcement, federal Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen acknowledged that offshore wind will be “one of the key measures in getting Australia to [the Albanese government’s plan of] 82% renewable energy by 2030“.
The government’s announcement follows the commencement of the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Act 2021 in June 2022 which provides a framework for facilitating and regulating the development of offshore renewable energy infrastructure in Australian waters.
With the government’s Offshore Electricity Infrastructure framework now beginning to take hold, and as the consultation process progressively begins in respect of the five other identified zones, the next 18 months will be a busy period for the Australian offshore renewables sector.
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This article was written by Simon Walsh, Partner and Andy Johnston, Senior Associate.