Australia poised for offshore wind rush

It has been a tumultuous few months in Australia.


September 1, 2022

It has been a tumultuous few months in Australia.

In July, the world shook as long-running soap opera Neighbours ended. This has dismayed the show’s fans but, on a personal level, I hope it means Libby Kennedy can now find the time to return my calls!

There has been a major shift in the political landscape too. In May, the Labor Party won the general election, to bring an end to a decade of Liberal rule.

Under the leadership of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, the government is looking to provide a boost for investors in the renewables sector. Albanese is seeking to establish as a renewables “superpower” and drive climate action.

This should mean more support for the wind sector after a decade slogging away under previous administrations. One area we have seen action from the federal government in recent weeks is to open up the seabed around Australia.

Last month, it declared six offshore zones where it wants to see renewable energy developments, including the country’s first offshore wind farms. It has opened a consultation on the first, in the Bass Strait off Gippsland in Victoria, on 5th August. That consultation is due to close on 7th October.

The next five zones it plans to develop are in or near:

  • Bass Strait, Tasmania
  • Hunter Valley, New South Wales
  • Illawarra, New South Wales
  • Perth / Bunbury, Western Australia
  • Portland, Victoria

It isn’t fair to hail this all, or even most of it, as the work of Labor. The choice to prioritise Gippsland for offshore wind was taken under the Liberals.

The process to assess development areas is covered by the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Act 2021, which came into force in June 2022; and the area was identified as the offshore wind priority in April, under Liberal rule, because of its strong winds, state support, grid plans, and interest from investors.

These include Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, which is working on the 2.2GW Star of the South project that could be Australia’s first offshore wind farm. Our research shows 27 offshore wind farms of 46GW are in prospect in Australia, and a further eight of 9GW are in New Zealand. They are:


  • Alinta Energy
  • Spinifex, Portland, Victoria (1GW)
  • Australis Energy and Wpd
  • Bunbury, Western Australia (300MW)
  • Portland, Victoria (495MW)
  • South Australia (600MW)
  • Bluefloat Energy and Energy Estate
  • Greater Gippsland, Victoria (1.3GW)
  • Hunter Coast, New South Wales (1.4GW)
  • Wollongong, New South Wales (1.6GW)
  • Copenhagen Energy
  • Leeuwin, Western Australia (3GW)
  • MidWest, Western Australia (3GW)
  • Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners
  • Star of the South, Gippsland, Victoria (2.2GW)
  • Corio Generation (formerly part of Green Investment Group)
  • Great Eastern, Wellington, Victoria (2.5GW)
  • Great Southern, Bass Coast, Gippsland, Victoria (1GW)
  • Flotation Energy
  • Seadragon, Gippsland, Victoria (1.5GW)
  • Green Energy Partners
  • Bass Strait, Victoria (4GW)
  • Port Kembla, Wollongong, New South Wales (3GW)
  • Southern Queensland (2GW)
  • Western Australia (1GW)
  • Western Victoria (500MW-1GW)
  • Newcastle Offshore Wind Energy
  • Newcastle, Tasman Sea, New South Wales (1.8GW)
  • Nexsphere (formerly Brookvale Energy)
  • Bass 1, Bass Strait, Victoria (500MW-1GW)
  • Bass 2, Bass Strait, Victoria (potential 1GW extension)
  • Oceanex Energy and Equinor
  • Bunbury, Western Australia (2GW)
  • Eden, Tasman Sea, New South Wales (2GW)
  • Illawarra, Wollongong, New South Wales (2GW)
  • Novocastrian, Newcastle, New South Wales (2GW)
  • Ulladulla, New South Wales (2GW)
  • Pilot Energy
  • Mid West, Western Australia (1.1GW)

New Zealand

  • Bluefloat Energy, Energy Estate and Elemental Group
  • Four projects totalling 5GW off Taranaki, Southland and Waikato
  • Copenhagen Infrastructure Fund and NZ Super Fund
  • South Taranaki Bight (1GW)
  • Oceanex Energy
  • Three projects totalling 3GW

This is a great indication of the huge amount of development seen in Australia and New Zealand over the last two years. It shows that the new government has a great opportunity to unleash growth in Australia; and support growth of the supply chain to the benefit of the wider area, particularly New Zealand.

It should also come as little surprise that oil and gas giants are moving in. Norwegian company Equinor has formed a joint venture with Oceanex this week; while Shell is also watching the market with interest and is looking to make inroads. Money talks, and there is no lack of projects whose developers may be prepared to listen. Watch this space!

After all, you can’t watch Neighbours any more.

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