Hunter Offshore Wind Zone officially declared

The Hunter Offshore Wind Zone has been officially declared, and is smaller and further out to sea than originally planned.

Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen will be in the Hunter today to announce the revised wind zone in the Pacific Ocean stretching over 1,800 km2 between Swansea and Port Stephens, 20km from the coast in the north and over 35km from the coast in the south. Offshore infrastructure will also be limited to a height of 260 metres to address aviation safety.

Chris Bowen said the final area has been declared two months after public consultation with a smaller footprint which balances the views of the local community, local industry and sea users.

“The Hunter is undergoing significant economic change, and the prospect of creating new job opportunities for decades to come through a new offshore wind industry is a game changer,” Minister Bowen said.

“Today’s declaration opens the door for a new industry in the Hunter, which could create over 3,000 construction jobs and another 1,560 ongoing jobs.”

The wind zone could generate up to 5GW of wind energy, enough to power an estimated 4.2 million homes and power local industries into the future.

Feasibility licence applications for offshore wind projects in the Hunter area will open from 8 August  until 14 November 2023.

During the feasibility licence stage, developers will be required to undertake further consultation on individual proposals, including detailed environmental assessments and impacts on other marine users.

Construction can only begin after feasibility stage is completed, and environmental and management plan approvals are gained.