Australia passes landmark bill to enable offshore wind

Australia’s parliament has passed legislation that provides a framework for developing offshore wind projects in the country.

The Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Bill 2021 was introduced to the Australian Parliament by federal energy minister Angus Taylor in September of this year, following years of campaigning by green groups, state governments and developers.

“The Morrison government’s offshore electricity infrastructure package will unlock the development of a new industry that will create thousands of skilled regional jobs, strengthen our economy, and support a more affordable and secure energy system,” Taylor said.

Environmental group Friends of the Earth said the legislation has been a long time coming and that it is the first critical step towards establishing an industry that can deliver deep emissions cuts and thousands of jobs. “Australia has taken the first critical step to establish a jobs-rich offshore wind industry that will boost efforts to tackle the climate crisis,” said Pat Simons, Friends of the Earth’s renewable energy spokesperson.

The final Senate vote comes just days after Victoria’s Andrews government announced the largest public investment in offshore wind in the country, a $40m fund that will support three new offshore wind proposals in Gippsland. Together, these proposals could deliver 4.7 GW of renewable power to 3.2m homes and create up to 5,600 jobs.

The bill provides a critical legal framework and pathway for projects like the 2.2 GW Star of the South to continue investing in project development. 

Star of the South is the country’s first and most advanced offshore wind project, located off the south coast of Gippsland. The project is jointly owned by Australian Founders with an investment and majority ownership by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners. 

Star of the South CEO, Casper Frost Thorhauge, commented: “We welcome the passing of the offshore electricity infrastructure bill and acknowledge the work of Minister Taylor and the Australian Government in prioritising this important legislation.”

“This bill is a major milestone in kick-starting a new industry, realising Australia’s offshore wind potential and unlocking jobs and economic benefits for regional Australia.”

Adis Ajdin

Adis is an experienced news reporter with a background in finance, media and education. He has written across the spectrum of offshore energy and ocean industries for many years and is a member of International Federation of Journalists. Previously he had written for Navingo media group titles including Offshore Energy, Subsea World News and Marine Energy.
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