The Australian Government has declared an area in the Pacific Ocean off the Hunter, New South Wales (NSW) as suitable for future offshore wind development.
The announcement follows the declaration of Gippsland off the Victorian coast and will improve energy security, affordability, and sustainability and bring us another step closer to net zero by 2050.
The declared Hunter area:
- covers 1,854 square kilometres between the Central Coast and Port Stephens
- is 20 km from the coast in the north and over 35 km from the coast in the south
- has the potential to generate up to 5 gigawatts of renewable wind energy, enough to power an estimated 4.2 million homes
- has potential for offshore wind projects in the area to create up to 3,120 construction jobs and another 1,560 ongoing operational jobs.
The declaration comes after a 65 day public consultation period from 23 February to 28 April 2023. We consulted with local communities, First Nations people, community groups, industry, business, and local and state and governments.
We listened to stakeholder feedback and reduced the size of the declared area:
- protect the environment, including the breeding and foraging ground of the endangered Gould’s Petrel around Cabbage Tree Island
- ensure space for the safe management of shipping
- address concerns regarding visual impacts
- address aviation safety with offshore wind infrastructure limited to a height of 260 metres.
Feasibility licence applications
The period for developers to submit feasibility licence applications for proposed offshore wind projects in the Hunter area will open on 8 August 2023 and close on 14 November 2023.
During the feasibility stage, licence holders must undertake detailed environmental assessments and further stakeholder consultation to advance their specific project proposals.
Construction cannot begin until the feasibility stage is complete, and environmental and other approvals are in place.