Friday, April 19, 2024

Offshore wind zone declared off NSW coast

The Federal Government has today declared an area in the Pacific Ocean off the NSW Hunter coast as suitable for future offshore wind development.

Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen said the strong, consistent winds off the coast, along with the region’s skilled energy and manufacturing workforce, made the Hunter an ideal location for an offshore wind industry.

The final area was declared after two months of consultation with a smaller footprint than the originally proposed zone.

The declared area, stretches over 1,800 km2 between Swansea and Port Stephens and could generate up to 5GW of wind energy, enough to power an estimated 4.2 million homes and power local industries into the future.

The revised zone will be 20 km from the coast in the north and over 35 km from the coast in the south.

The Minister said the changes will enable continued safe management of shipping and other sea industries. Offshore infrastructure will also be limited to a height of 260 metres to address aviation safety.

“The Hunter is undergoing significant economic change, and the prospect of creating new job opportunities for decades to come through a new offshore wind industry is a game changer,” Minister Bowen said.

“Today’s declaration opens the door for a new industry in the Hunter, which could create over 3,000 construction jobs and another 1,560 ongoing jobs.

Federal Member for Newcastle, Sharon Claydon said the declaration was an exciting opportunity for Newcastle to diversify its economy, while becoming home to a new offshore wind industry.

“The Albanese Labor Government has listened to community feedback and revised the offshore wind zone accordingly to ensure it coexists alongside whale migration, bird and sea life, and our shipping industry,” she said.

“This is an important part of a suite of measures which will position Newcastle and the Hunter as a clean energy hub, including an $100 million investment to ensure hydrogen readiness at the Port of Newcastle. Newcastle has a bright future.”

The period for developers to submit feasibility licence applications for proposed offshore wind projects in the Hunter area will open on 8 August 2023 and close on 14 November 2023.

Construction cannot begin until the feasibility stage is complete, and environmental and other approvals are in place.

The announcement follows the declaration of Gippsland off the Victorian coast.

The final declared zone can be found at https://www.dcceew.gov.au/energy/renewable/establishing-offshore-infrastructure

Consultation Zone:

Final Declaration Zone:

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