Hunter officially named Australia’s second offshore wind zone

Floating offshore wind turbines against cloudy blue sky (offshore wind)
Image: Shutterstock

The Federal Government has officially declared an offshore wind zone in the Pacific Ocean off the Hunter, making it the second officially declared Australian offshore wind zone.

The strong, consistent winds off the coast, along with the region’s skilled energy and manufacturing workforce, make the Hunter an ideal location for an offshore wind industry and, being in a heartland of heavy industry, it will support future onshore manufacturing and energy security in NSW for decades to come.

Related article: Consultation opens for Hunter offshore wind industry

The final area was declared after two months of public consultation with a smaller footprint than the originally proposed zone—balancing the views of the local community, local industry and sea users.

The declared area, stretches over 1,800sq km 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 20km from the coast in the north and over 35km from the coast in the south.

These changes enable continued safe management of shipping and other sea industries. Offshore infrastructure will also be limited to a height of 260m to address aviation safety.

Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen said the declaration was another big step for Australia to reap the huge benefits of offshore wind.

“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 MP said this 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.

Related article: Gippsland officially named Australia’s first offshore wind zone

“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.”

Feasibility licence applications for offshore wind projects in the Hunter area will open from 8 August until 14 November 2023.

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