Australia announces offshore wind support

In: Windfarms
The Australian government will deal out millions of dollars in support of developing offshore wind policy over the next couple of years.

In the 2020-2021 Federal Budget, the government has allocated $4.8 million (€2.9 million) for the two-year period 2020-21 to support the development of a regulatory framework for offshore clean energy infrastructure industry, consistent with the Australian Government Charging Framework.

In January 2020, Australia’s Department of the Environment and Energy (DEE) proposed a regulatory framework for offshore wind development and other clean energy technologies in Commonwealth waters (beyond three nautical miles), including the EEZ.

The proposed regime is technology-neutral and based on competitive licence awards with options for commercial and demonstration scale projects. The framework is modelled on regulating offshore petroleum, with the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) acting as the regulator and providing technical advice to the Energy Minister throughout the licensing process. The Minister will consult over and declare suitable areas as Offshore Energy Sites, comprised of ‘graticular blocks’ (1 minute of latitude x 1 minute of longitude). Competitive interest for the areas will be evaluated through a technical, financial and experienced based pre-qualification criteria and interested parties will be able to apply for various licenses to develop projects.

The funding support will allow this proposed framework to progress to the next phase and has been welcomed by the team behind Australia's first offshore wind farm the Star of the South who commented:

"We would like to thank and acknowledge the efforts of the Australian Government in progressing the legislation to help realise the potential for offshore wind in Gippsland. We're developing Star of the South and are excited about its potential to create long-term local jobs and continue the region's proud history of power generation."

As Australia's first offshore wind farm,  if the
Star of the South project is found to be feasible, and subject to government approval,  construction could commence in 2022, with power generation in 2024. It is expected to have the potential to generate up to 20% of Victoria’s electricity needs.

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