Amended offshore wind zone to boost jobs in Illawarra

Following extensive community consultation with local leaders, industry, unions, First Nations people, community groups and individuals the Illawarra offshore wind zone has been amended.

Offshore wind

The Australian Government has declared a new offshore wind zone off the coast of Illawarra, New South Wales, with amendments reflecting stakeholder feedback received through the consultation period.

The wind zone will be situated 20 kilometres offshore from Illawarra, covering 1,022 square kilometers, a reduction from the initial plan to protect vital environmental regions. The revised zone avoids key habitats such as the Little Penguin area, the Shelf Rocky Reef, and the Southern Right Whale migration and reproduction zones.

Member for Cunningham Alison Byrnes explained, “Amending the zone so that it commences 20 kilometres from the coast and excluding significant environmental areas is a sensible compromise that reflects the majority of community opinion while helping to achieve our shared goals of more renewable energy, more jobs and fewer emissions.”

The project is expected to generate 1,740 construction jobs and 870 ongoing roles, including positions for engineers, technicians, project managers, and dockworkers. It will produce approximately 2.9 GW of electricity, capable of powering 1.8 million homes.

Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen stated, “The Illawarra has been an engine room of the Australian economy for generations, and now it’s ready to power Australia’s clean energy future.”

“Declaring this offshore wind zone brings the Illawarra a step closer to becoming a major provider of the building blocks of the net zero transformation – green power, green hydrogen and green steel – along with thousands of new jobs.”

Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones added, “We want Australia to be a global renewable energy superpower, and regions such as the Illawarra have an important role to play in our nation’s energy transformation.”

Applications for feasibility licences are open from 17 June to 15 August 2024, with projects needing to pass extensive environmental and management approvals before construction can commence.

Developers must prioritise using Australian supply chains, including locally sourced steel, and work with local businesses to ensure community benefits from the project, demonstrating their commitment to supporting Australian jobs. According to the Government, licences will only be given to those projects protecting the environment, and coexisting with other marine activities like shipping and fishing.

The final details of the declared zone and additional information are available on the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water website here.

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