Australia – “The Kid Studying All Night to Catch Up”

1 September 2023 | Joelin Chen

The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) has launched its 2023 Global Offshore Wind Report prior to the commencement of the APAC (Asia-Pacific) Offshore Wind and Green Hydrogen Summit 2023, which concluded in Melbourne yesterday. Feeding almost 9 GW of new offshore wind into the grid, the report found, made 2022 the second highest year in history for offshore wind installations.

Despite ongoing challenging market conditions pushing back offshore wind development in Europe and the US in the near term, GWEC expects 380 GW of new offshore wind capacity to be added over the next decade. Of which, Australia is projected to account for more than 50 GW.

Annual offshore wind installation capacity is expected to quadruple by 2028 and pass 60 GW in 2032, bringing the share of global new offshore wind installations from 11% in 2022 to 30% by 2032.

Australia’s Emergence in the Offshore Wind Market

In the past few years, Australia has proven its commitment to adopting best practice with the implementation of the licence process through the implementation of the following regulations: Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Act 2021 (OEI Act), Offshore Electricity Infrastructure (Regulatory Levies) Regulations 2022, Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Regulations 2022, and Cost Recovery Implementation Statement (CRIS).

Australia is firmly establishing itself as a key market within the global offshore wind landscape, with the Gippsland area feasibility license application period which concluded in April 2023, recent commencement of the feasibility licence application period for the Hunter declared area, and recent closure of consultation for the Southern Ocean offshore wind zone. At the GWEC 2023 Summit, Chris Bowen, Australia’s Minister for Climate Change and Energy, revealed plans to commence consultations in the final two high-potential offshore wind areas out of six — Northern Tasmania and Perth/Bunbury. These consultations are scheduled for October and November, respectively. He further affirmed that the government is on course to declare all six areas by the first half of next year.

Minister Bowen described Australia as being like “the kid studying all night to catch up,” regarding renewable energy and offshore wind, but could “safely say the government’s work over the last twelve months now makes it a model for other countries looking to build their offshore wind sector”.  

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