Illawarra declared Australia’s fourth offshore wind zone

Spinning offshore wind turbines against pretty sky (aurora offshore)
Image: Shutterstock

The Australian Government has declared its fourth offshore wind zone in the Pacific Ocean off the Illawarra, New South Wales.

The declared area covers 1,022sq km and is at least 20km offshore from Wombarra to Kiama in New South Wales. The zone has a potential power generation of 2.9GW.

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The Illawarra region is one of six priority areas identified for offshore wind development in Australian Commonwealth waters. It is well suited for offshore wind due to a range of factors including:

  • strong, consistent winds
  • proximity to areas of high electricity demand including the Port Kembla steelworks
  • proximity to existing connections to the grid
  • ageing coal-fired power stations in the region are planning to shut down in future years
    potential to support infrastructure via Port Kembla.

There is also strong industry interest in developing projects in the area offshore of NSW. The area is adjacent to the NSW Government’s proposed Illawarra Renewable Energy Zone.

Map of the Illawarra declared offshore wind area showing the proposed area versus the declared zone
Illawarra declared offshore wind area (Image: DCCEEW)

The proposed area that went out for public consultation was determined following consultation with Australian and NSW government agencies.

Feasibility licence applications for the Illawarra offshore wind zone will be open from 17 June to 15 August 2024.

Climate Council head of policy and advocacy Dr Jennifer Rayner said, “The Illawarra has long been a manufacturing powerhouse. With affordable, clean energy being produced in the region, places like Wollongong and Port Kembla will continue thriving for generations to come.

“Offshore wind will be an important part of Australia’s clean energy grid because it provides reliable, steady renewable energy right around the clock. This is one of the important ways we’ll power Australia as our ageing and unreliable coal-fired generators close.

Related article: Australia’s third—and smallest—offshore wind zone declared

“We’ll also need more onshore wind to grow a bigger, cleaner grid that can power our homes, businesses and clean manufacturing right across NSW and around the country. The federal and state governments need to work together to rapidly break through roadblocks that are holding back the delivery of onshore wind projects already supported by communities and investors.”

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