Feedback sought regarding Southern Ocean offshore wind proposal

The Southern Ocean Region, extending from Warrnambool, Victoria to
Port MacDonnell, South Australia, is being considered for offshore wind and other renewable energy projects.

The Australian Government has stressed that this initial area is a proposal for feedback. It is not the final declaration.

This is your first opportunity to provide feedback.

If a declaration is made in the future, developers will also be required to seek feedback on any proposed projects and demonstrate how they will share the area with existing users.

The Minister for Climate Change and Energy has proposed an area in the Commonwealth waters in the Southern Ocean Region to be zoned for future offshore renewable energy generation projects, such as offshore wind. The area extends from off Warrnambool, Victoria in the southeast to off Port MacDonnell, South Australia in the northwest. The Australian Government is looking to harness renewable energy resources to help decarbonise the economy with year-round clean energy generation. This will reduce emissions and boost the share of renewables in the electricity grid.

This initial area is a proposal and consultation is now open. Feedback is being sought on the proposal and how offshore renewable energy projects could share the area with other users and interests. The Minister will consider the submissions and may remove parts of the proposed area or place conditions on all or part of the area, before making a final declaration.

Many factors have been considered when defining the project boundaries, including initial feedback received from Commonwealth, Victorian and South Australian Government agencies, Traditional Owner groups and technical limitations identified in the Blue Economy CRC report into Offshore Wind in Australia.

The proposed area begins at least 5.4 nautical miles (approximately 10 kilometres) from shore. Offshore wind turbines are the tallest renewable energy option being proposed in the area, with current heights of up to approximately 250m above sea level. The relative height and visual effect decreases with distance, especially due to the curvature of the earth.

The Australian Government wants to manage the offshore marine environment in a way that recognises all users and balances competing interests, including those of Traditional Owners in the region. Understanding existing users and interests in and near the proposed area is important and will help the Minister for Climate Change and Energy’s decide whether the area is suitable for offshore renewable energy developments. Future offshore renewable energy projects must share the area with other users and interests.

This is your first opportunity to provide feedback. Feedback is sought on the proposal to declare an area and how offshore renewable energy projects could share the area with other users and interests.

You can make a submission through this link. Your feedback will help inform the Minister’s decision on whether the proposed area is suitable for offshore renewable energy. Your feedback must be provided through the Have our say portal by Thursday 31 August 2023 11:59pm.

For information on the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Act 2021 please visit the Establishing offshore renewable energy infrastructure web page.

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