An offshore wind farm

South Australian Gov’t Rejects Offshore Wind Project Application, Asks Federal Gov’t to Move Declared Development Zone Out of State Waters

The South Australian (SA) government has rejected a proposal by Skyborn Renewables and Australis Energy for an offshore wind farm to be built off the state’s coast and has also submitted a document to the federal government in which it expresses its opposition to the Southern Ocean offshore wind development zone being in the state’s waters.

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On 7 August, South Australia’s Minister for Planning, Nick Champion, issued a decision rejecting the development application for an offshore wind farm near Kingston, which was filed in August 2021 by the company SA Offshore Windfarm, established by Australis Energy, which was last year joined by Skyborn Renewables (former wpd) to realise the project.

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According to the decision, the developer was notified that the minister was considering refusing approval to the project back in June, with an opportunity to make representations for further consideration before a decision was made.

The joint venture filed its response to the minister on 22 June.

“Pursuant to Section 115(2)(a) of the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016, I will not grant a development authorisation for the development (and thereby no further assessment of the application will take place)”, Minister Champion states in the decision published in The South Australian Government Gazette on 17 August.

Skyborn and Australis Now Eye Larger Project in Federal Waters

Skyborn and Australis announced on 22 August that they were now planning for the Kingston Offshore Windfarm project, which would have a capacity of between 1 GW and 2 GW, to be located solely in Commonwealth waters. The project was initially planned to have 400 MW to 600 MW installed in SA waters with a possible 1 GW extension farther from the shore, in Commonwealth waters.

The developers will now also halt active environmental and geophysical works while discussions with the State and Commonwealth governments are ongoing, however, the work to develop the even larger project will continue, according to the two partners.

“We are continuing development in the Kingston area and we are exploring options to develop in the Commonwealth waters in collaboration with the SA Department of Energy and Mining. This means the project would be located further offshore than originally planned”, the developers said.


The border between SA and Commonwealth waters is typically 3 nautical miles (5.5 kilometres) from the shore, with South Australia governing the waters up to 3 nautical miles and the Commonwealth government controlling the area beyond that. However, in Lacpede Bay in the Kingston area, this border is extended further out into the Southern Ocean, to a maximum of about 15 kilometres offshore, Skyborn and Australis explain.

“Previously the closest WTGs to Kingston would have been within 15km of the shoreline within State waters, whereas now the plan is for the closest WTGs to be located about 15 km offshore, all outside the State waters and State Marine Park. Relocating the WTGs into Commonwealth waters will further reduce any potential for visual impact from shore, and minimise any environmental impacts”, the companies said.

The potential impact of installing offshore wind turbines in South Australia’s waters on southern fisheries and marine environment is also the focus of the recent submission of the state’s government to the Commonwealth, in which it asks the federal government to move or reduce the size of the proposed Southern Ocean offshore wind development zone “to remove any waters adjacent to the South Australia coast”.

South Australia Asks Federal Government to Move Offshore Wind Zone Out of State Waters

The Australian government moved to officially declare the Southern Ocean zone suitable for offshore wind development in June this year and opened public consultation on the proposal, which closed on 31 August.

The zone covers 5,100 square kilometres and stretches from Warrnambool in Victoria to Port MacDonnell in South Australia, and has the potential to accommodate up to 14 GW of offshore wind capacity, which is the equivalent of powering up to 8.4 million homes, according to the federal government.

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The South Australian government says the construction of a wind project in the area could negatively impact fisheries, marine wildlife and biodiversity, and pointed out that energy generated within the zone would also be connected exclusively to the Victorian power grid.

Susan Close, the Deputy Premier of South Australia, said: “The South Australian Government is committed to renewable energy projects that improve our state’s energy security, but we cannot support ones that have the potential to cause significant harm to local industries and the environment. This is particularly the case when they have no net benefit to South Australians”.

According to the SA government, the AUD 187.5 million rock lobster industry which contributes 1,068 full-time equivalent jobs to the local economy has welcomed the state’s government’s move.

“The State Government has stood with the Rock Lobster Industry since coming to government, particularly in the wake of difficult times with COVID and trade tensions with China”, said Clare Scriven, South Australia’s Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development.

“The sector needs certainty going forward that some of its most productive fishing grounds will not be impacted by a project that, while impacting on South Australia, will deliver energy to Victoria”.


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