Public consultation: 5 August to October 2022
Submissions received: 765
Date of declaration: 19 December 2022
Declared area maximum size: 15,000km2
Potential power generation: 10GW
Potential jobs: 6,000 jobs during construction and 3000 ongoing jobs
Current status: Feasibility licence applications received between 23 January to 27 April 2023 are currently under assessment
The declared area
The Minister for Climate Change and Energy declared an area off Gippsland, Victoria, as suitable for offshore renewable energy on 19 December 2022.
This was given effect by the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure (Declared Area OEI-01-2022) Declaration 2022.
The declared area off Gippsland covers approximately 15,000 square kilometres. It is offshore of Lakes Entrance in the east, to south of Wilsons Promontory in the west.
By declaring the area, the Minister is identifying where more environmental assessments and investigations are needed to inform future development options.
Following the declaration of this area on 19 December 2022, the Minister committed to further consideration of the area west of Wilsons Promontory. On 31 August 2023, after additional consideration and consultation with the Victorian Government, the Minister concluded that there were unacceptable environmental risks to progressing with offshore wind in this region. The Minister confirmed that the region west of Wilsons Promontory would not be considered further for declaration.
Map of declared area
This shapefile is provided for illustrative and explanatory purposes only and must be used with the GDA94 geocentric data set. The Declared Area is the area made up of the areas specified in Schedules 1, 2, and 3 the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure (Declared Area OEI-01-2022) Declaration 2022.
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Choosing the area
The offshore wind industry is well established internationally and is now an emerging industry in Australia. See building an offshore wind industry.
The Gippsland area is one of 6 priority areas identified for offshore wind development in Australian Commonwealth waters. Several factors are considered to identify regions that have potential to support an offshore wind industry.
The Gippsland region is well suited for offshore wind due to a range of factors including:
- excellent offshore wind capacity
- proximity to existing electricity grid infrastructure
- proximity to energy demand.
There is also strong industry interest in developing projects in the area offshore of Gippsland. The Victorian Government supports prioritising this area as a renewable energy zone for the development of an offshore wind industry.
The proposed area that went out for public consultation was determined following consultation with Commonwealth and Victorian Government agencies.
Consultation on potential offshore wind developments will occur at multiple stages of the regulatory process and continue throughout the life of any project that may ultimately be approved for construction. The community’s first opportunity to share their views is when an area is proposed for declaration.
Communities were consulted during a 63-day public consultation period on the proposed Gippsland area from 5 August to 7 October 2022.
Information about the consultation was shared across several platforms, including on our website and social media channels. Paid promotion was undertaken in newspapers, radio and social media.
Read more about the offshore renewable energy infrastructure area proposal: Bass Strait off Gippsland.
More than 500 people from the Gippsland community participated in 6 open house sessions during the consultation period. These sessions were held across the Gippsland region (Morwell, Lakes Entrance, Sale, Yarram, Wonthaggi and Leongatha) from 29 August to 1 September 2022.
Each session was also attended by:
- departmental staff
- Victorian Government Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
- Latrobe Valley Authority.
At the sessions, attendees were briefed by government representatives on elements of the proposal, provided the opportunity for the local community to ask questions, discuss key issues and understand the importance of providing feedback via a submission.
Relevant local industry stakeholders and community were invited to participate in 5 online, specific sessions during the consultation period held between 17 August and 25 August 2022.
These sessions were targeted to the following groups:
- aviation and emergency services
- commercial fishing
- community groups
- recreational fishing.
The sessions covered the interaction of offshore renewable energy projects with specific local industries. Attendees were able to ask questions and provide informed feedback to the consultation process.
The department also consulted with relevant Australian and Victorian Government agencies that have policy and regulatory oversight over marine users and interests.
Minister’s response to public consultation
The Minister for Climate Change and Energy has listened to feedback and decided to declare a smaller area for offshore wind than what had originally been proposed during public consultation. This takes on board feedback obtained as part of the consultation process.
The declared area avoids the environmentally significant area west of Wilsons Promontory. This is a precautionary measure, noting the environmental significance of this area as a probable migration path for the Orange-Bellied Parrot. It also considers other environmental matters such as whale migrations. This area was also the subject of community concerns for visual impacts.
The Government has additionally reaffirmed its commitment to working with states and territories, market bodies, networks and communities on reforming the regulatory framework around transmission (the RIT-T), to include genuine engagement throughout – not just at the end of the planning process for transmission.
The declaration instrument for the Gippsland area includes the following conditions:
- requires that future feasibility licence holders must consult with concession holders under the Fisheries Management Act 1991 (Commonwealth) or licence holders under the Fisheries Management Act 1995 (Vic) or nominated representative organisations in preparing a management plan for the licence. This must address the outcomes of this consultation, including how impacts on these holders may be avoided, mitigated or offset.
- requires that future feasibility licence holders consult with the Department of Defence, the Bureau of Meteorology, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, titleholders of any existing petroleum or greenhouse gas titles issued under the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 whose title area overlaps with the licence area.
During the public consultation on the proposed Gippsland area, 765 submissions were received from the public. Submissions raised concerns about:
- environmental impacts
- visual amenity
- recreational and commercial fishing
- onshore impacts
- shipping impacts.
Submissions also supported:
- the development of an offshore wind industry
- potential benefits to the local economy
- transitioning to clean renewable energy.
Read the submissions summary report.
Feasibility licence applications were accepted for proposed projects within the declared area from 23 January to 27 April 2023. The Offshore Infrastructure Registrar leads assessment of all applications against criteria set out in the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Regulations 2022 and makes recommendations to the Minister. Find out more about the licence application process.
The next stage for Gippsland is for feasibility licences to be granted.
- Joint media release: Unlocking the power of offshore wind in Gippsland
- Offshore wind in Australia
- Australia's offshore wind areas
- Building an offshore wind industry
- Facts about offshore wind
- Legislation and regulations
- Energy in our department
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