Hunter Offshore Renewable Energy Zone


I’m pleased to be able to provide information below on the progress of the Hunter Offshore Renewable Energy Zone.

Please click here to view a letter from Minister Bowen who has announced a preliminary decision for feasibility licences in the offshore wind area in the Hunter region.

Only one applicant will progress to the next phase of the feasibility licencing process.

This company is Novocastrian Wind Pty Ltd (Novocastrian).

You can view their website via this link Novocastrian | Oceanex Energy Offshore Wind Farms.

To be clear, no feasibility licence has been granted at this stage, but the Minister is progressing Novocastrian Wind Pty Ltd (Novocastrian) as the most meritorious project to the next stage of consultation with First Nations groups.

If the feasibility license is issued which we’d anticipate being later this year, consultation with First Nations groups, communities, unions and marine users will continue while environmental studies and a detailed management plan is prepared. At this stage we don’t believe any further feasibility licences will be offered.

Clear requirements have been set for offshore wind developers to consult with fishers and avoid, mitigate and offset any impacts on fishing.

The feasibility licence holder will be required to develop a management plan for approval by the Offshore Infrastructure Regulator.

This plan needs to set out the consultation undertaken with existing users, such as people involved with shipping and fisheries, and how they propose to manage the interactions.

Construction can only commence after commercial licences are granted. Commercial licences are only offered after obtaining all necessary approvals through the feasibility licence stage, which includes rigorous environmental assessments and approval processes. Feasibility licences are issued for seven years. This is a thorough process assessed against legislative criteria.

We expect recreational fishers will be able to travel and fish within the offshore wind zone, which already occurs internationally in the United Kingdom and Denmark. In those jurisdictions turbines are around 2 kilometres apart with an exclusion zone of just 50 metres around turbines. It means fishing vessels can go about their normal operations within the wind farm.

Should the project go ahead, it would employ around 3,000 workers during construction and create around 200-300 permanent local jobs. It would inject development expenditure worth hundreds of millions of dollars into the Hunter region and leverage existing heavy industry. 

It could generate over 2 GW of electricity, equivalent to powering 1.2 million homes or two Tomago smelters.

The Hunter has long been an industrial powerhouse for Australia but is now a region that has so much to gain from the renewable energy transformation. The Albanese Government is paving the way for energy and job security in a region that has helped to power Australia for generations.

I hope this information is of assistance and provides further reassurance to you. If you have any further questions in relation to the Hunter Offshore Renewable Energy Zone, please don’t hesitate to contact my office.

Declared zone denoting the Novocastrian Wind Pty Ltd project area.