Australian Gov’t Initiates Consultation on Sixth Area for Offshore Wind Development

The Australian Government has launched a consultation on an offshore wind development zone in the Indian Ocean off the Bunbury region in Western Australia (WA) that could host up to 20 GW of offshore wind.

The Commonwealth is seeking feedback on a proposed area, which is 7,674 square kilometres and at least 20 kilometres from shore at its closest point off Cape Naturaliste and Bunbury and 36 kilometres from Busselton.

Source: Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water

According to the Ministry for Climate Change and Energy, the proposed zone is an ideal location for offshore electricity generation because of the high-speed winds in the Indian Ocean, and its proximity to large energy users. It could enable up to 20 GW of offshore wind to be developed.

Submissions on the proposed area are open from today (20 February) until 3 May 2024. The ministry says that an offshore wind project can only start construction if it is in a legally declared area, is awarded a feasibility licence and commercial licence, and receives environmental approval.

“Offshore wind will be a critical new clean energy industry for Western Australians as electricity demand increases, helping to provide thousands of jobs along the way. The Albanese Government is committed to genuine consultation on offshore wind – that’s why we want communities, industry and businesses to have their say on an offshore wind area off WA from the very beginning,” said Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen.

The zone is said to be able to deliver up to 12,000 jobs in construction and 6,000 ongoing jobs.

Western Australia is the sixth region that is considered to be suitable for future large-scale offshore wind projects in the Down Under.

The first two areas that have been declared for offshore wind development are the zone off Victoria’s Gippsland coast and the New South Wales (NSW) Hunter region.

The initial community consultation phase for the proposals in the Southern Ocean Region off Victoria and South Australia, as well as the NSW Illawarra region, has concluded.


Danish renewable energy company Copenhagen Energy said that the announcement made today marked an important milestone in the development of offshore wind in WA.

The company has submitted plans for initial consideration under the EPBC Act for three offshore wind farms in WA with its Leeuwin Offshore Wind Farm planned for Commonwealth waters in the Bunbury region.

“Our project has a lot to offer WA environmentally, socially and economically. It will help the State and Federal Governments achieve their carbon-reduction targets, create new jobs and provide the impetus for regional development using local suppliers,” said Joy Francis-Hayes, Copenhagen Energy Development Manager, Australia.


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