Australia opens feasibility licence application window

4C Offshore | Tom Russell
By: Tom Russell 23/01/2023 DCCE
The Australian Government has opened the invitation period for feasibility licence applications for offshore wind in the Gippsland declared area.  Feasibility Licence applications will be accepted for proposed projects within the Gippsland declared area from 23 January 2023 to 27 April 2023.

Once the application period has closed, the Registrar will assess all applications against criteria set out in the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Regulations 2022, and make recommendations to the Minister.

The opening of the application window follows and announcement by  the Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen that the Bass Strait off Gippsland will be Australia’s first offshore wind zone. According Minister Bowen,  the Bass Strait off Gippsland has the potential to support more than 10GW of year-round wind energy generation. The declared area covers about 15,000 square kilometres offshore, and runs from Lakes Entrance in the east to south of Wilsons Promontory in the west. This area was developed after a consultation process last year.

The Bass Strait off Gippsland, Victoria is home to several early stage offshore wind developments. This includes the
Star of the South, Great Eastern, Greater Gippsland, Blue Marlin and Seadragon projects. Back in December, Star of the South was given Major Project Status which means it can receive tailored regulatory facilitation services – to ensure they meet obligations without unnecessary regulatory delays.  

The Victorian Government has committed to a 2032 offshore wind target for Victoria of at least 2GW, aiming for first power to come progressively online from 2028. It also set further targets of 4 GW for 2035 and 9 GW for 2040.

Other regions being considered for future offshore wind energy projects are the Pacific Ocean regions off the Hunter and Illawarra in NSW, the Southern Ocean region off Portland in Victoria, the Bass Straight region off Northern Tasmania, and the Indian Ocean region off Perth/Bunbury in WA.

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