An area off the coast of the Hunter in New South Wales has been declared as Australia’s second offshore wind zone. Proponents will be able to submit feasibility licence applications between 8 August 2023 and 14 November 2023.

Snapshot

  • The Hunter Declared Area is expected to generate up to 5GW of wind energy.
  • A height restriction of 260m above sea level will apply to wind farms in this zone.
  • The declaration follows a number of recent developments in the renewables space in the Hunter region, including the declaration of the Hunter-Central Coast Renewable Energy Zone (HCC REZ) and the Hunter Transmission Project (HTP).

Declaration of the Hunter offshore wind zone

The Federal Minister for Climate Change and Energy has declared an area in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of the Hunter to be Australia’s second offshore wind zone.

The Hunter region has significant existing energy resources, including onshore renewables and mining. It also has significant electricity, transport and port infrastructure.

Based on currently available information, we understand that the Hunter Declared Area:

  • covers approximately 1,854km2 between Swansea and Port Stephens;
  • could generate up to 5GW of wind energy (being approximately half of the potential wind energy potential of the offshore wind area in Gippsland, Victoria);
  • is approximately 20km from the coast in the north and over 35km from the coast in the south; and
  • will have a height restriction of 260m on turbines (for aviation safety), and this will be a condition of all licences within the Hunter Declared Area.

Other developments in renewable energy in the Hunter

The declaration of the Hunter Declared Area follows a number of recent developments in the renewables space in the Hunter region.

Declaration of the Hunter Transmission Project

  • On 21 July 2022, the HTP was declared to be Critical State significant infrastructure.
  • The HTP is intended to facilitate the transfer of electricity generated in renewable energy zones (REZs) into the Hunter, Sydney and Illawarra regions.

Declaration of the HCC REZ

  • On 9 December 2022, the New South Wales Minister for Energy declared the HCC REZ.
  • There are currently five declared REZs in New South Wales, which are intended to group new wind and solar projects in locations where energy can be stored and transmitted throughout the State.
  • During the Registration of Interest process for the HCC REZ, seven offshore projects (representing some 24.5GW of wind energy) registered interest in the HCC REZ.

Next steps

Proponents will be able to submit feasibility licence applications for offshore wind projects in the Hunter Declared Area between 8 August 2023 and 14 November 2023.

Further information on the licence application process can be found here. Further information on offshore wind generally can be found in our recent post here.

If you would like to discuss offshore wind projects in the Hunter declared area, please get in touch.

By Peter Briggs (Partner), Heidi Asten (Partner), Brigitte Rheinberger (Senior Associate) and Mayumi Martins (Graduate).

Peter Briggs
Peter Briggs
Partner, Sydney
+61 2 9225 5155
Heidi Asten
Heidi Asten
Partner, Melbourne
+61 3 9288 1710
Brigitte Rheinberger
Brigitte Rheinberger
Senior Associate, Sydney
+61 2 9225 5750