A photo of an offshore wind farm in sunset

Australia Earmarks EUR 2.9 Million for Offshore Renewables Regulatory Framework

Australian government has dedicated AUD 4.8 million (around EUR 2.9 million) from its 2020-2021 Federal Budget to the development of a regulatory framework related to offshore renewables.

Illustration; Photo source: Siemens Gamesa

According to the budget document, the funds will “support the development of a regulatory framework for offshore clean energy infrastructure industry, consistent with the Australian Government Charging Framework”. The framework development will be backed for two years starting from the fiscal year 2020/21.

The budget also sets aside AUD 1.9 billion (approximately EUR 1.15 billion) over twelve years to continue funding the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), expand the investment mandate of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), and invest in low emissions technologies, network infrastructure, dispatchable generation and reliable supplies in the National Electricity Market (NEM).

Of this, AUD 1.4 billion (approximately EUR 845 million) are dedicated to ARENA for research and development investment for emerging low emission technologies to increase their commercial readiness.

In the offshore wind sector, the country has only a couple projects in development, with the Star of the South offshore wind farm being in the most advanced stage with site investigations underway. Located off the south coast of Victoria, Star of the South could comprise up to 250 turbines with a combined capacity of up to 2 GW.

At the beginning of September, Australian oil and gas specialist Pilot Energy Limited announced a feasibility study for an offshore wind project off the coast of the Mid West Region of Western Australia, which would be part of a larger renewable energy project. The Mid West Wind and Solar Project combines the offshore wind farm with an onshore wind farm and a solar array, where the offshore wind part could be built to a 1.1 GW capacity.

Regarding other offshore renewables, Australia had a few projects in the marine energy sector, however, these were installed primarily for demonstration purposes, such as the 720kW array featuring three CETO 5 units, deployed as part of Perth Wave Energy Project, and the 250 kW bioWAVE demonstration wave energy unit off Port Fairy, Victoria, Australia.