With unemployment at record levels, thousands of jobs and billions in investment are waiting on the government’s offshore renewables legislation. We need these projects to create jobs, reduce energy emissions, and help address the climate crisis – please support our campaign.
Offshore wind could play a big role in decarbonising the electricity system in Australia. There are now over 12 developers working on over 20 offshore windfarms around Australia. Some of these are:
- Star of the South off Gippsland, Victoria. 2.2 GW. $8.7 billion. Construction could begin in 2025 and last five years. Exploration licence was approved in March 2019 which has allowed the project to begin. It is funded by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners.
- Energy Estate and BlueFloat Energy are developing three large projects: off the Hunter Coast, NSW (1.4 GW), off Wollongong, NSW (1.6 GW), and off Greater Gippsland, Vic (1.3 GW)
- Oceanex NSW offshore wind. Starting with 1.8 GW off Newcastle, with a significant port construction hub, then expanding with further locations off Wollongong, Ulladulla and Eden, potentially up to 7.5 GW. $31 billion with construction starting about 2027. Oceanex is lead by Andy Evans from Star of the South and also backed by European/Japanese investors Green Tower and Daiwa.
- Newcastle Offshore Wind. Project lead by Green Energy Partners and Richard Findlay-Jones. Applied for a licence from DISER in Jan 2020. This was refused pending the new legislation.
- Illawarra Offshore Wind. Lead by Green Energy Partners, who applied for a licence from DISER in Jan 2020. This was refused pending the new legislation. This project would use Port Kembla as a construction hub.
- Bass Offshore Wind Energy off Burnie, being developed by Brookvale Energy. Initially 360 MW, possibly up to 2GW in size.
- Oceanex WA offshore wind. 2GW project off West Australia.
Research has identified a number of sites potentially suitable for offshore wind in Queensland near Bundaberg, Gladstone, Rockhampton, and Mackay. Queensland’s transmission system runs along the coast.
These projects connect the immense renewable energy resources off our coasts with the existing transmission lines, population and industry built near the coast.
Using our offshore renewable resources can provide thousands of transition jobs for offshore oil and gas workers and other energy workers. Offshore wind projects can be located near existing coal fired power stations and transmission lines near the coast, reducing the need to build new transmission lines inland.
The International Energy Agency says that the strength and consistency of offshore wind make it potentially comparable with gas and coal fired power (IEA Offshore Wind Outlook 2019). This means less construction of new energy storage is required to provide a consistent supply of renewable energy.
The Government was supposed to introduce an Offshore Clean Energy Infrastructure Bill in mid-2020 but there is still no draft Bill. Credible offshore wind projects have been waiting more than five years for this legislation.
Unfortunately, the government is offering much less support to ocean renewable energy than it has offered to gas-fired power, fracking, coal seam gas and pipelines. Offshore wind gets only a small mention in the recent ‘Technology Roadmap’ and is not listed as a ‘priority’ technology. The Australian Energy Market Operator has not included offshore renewable resources in its assessment and ranking of potential renewable energy zones. ARENA, the CEFC, and the CSIRO aren’t currently supporting any offshore wind research projects.
The Commonwealth government should play a direct role in developing offshore wind. This could be done through Snowy Hydro, which has expanded to become ‘an integrated energy business’ wholly owned by the Commonwealth, and operating power stations across NSW, Victoria and South Australia. Alternately, states could develop offshore wind through publicly owned renewable energy companies such as CleanCo in Queensland.
The government needs to open its eyes to the enormous renewable energy resources off our coast – please support our campaign here.
Read more about the MUA’s work on climate and just transition here.
MUA climate and energy submissions are here.
Global expansion of offshore wind generation capacity.
Sites where offshore wind has been built or is under development.