Minister for Climate Change and Energy

Member for McMahon



Member for Newcastle



Hunter offshore wind industry a step closer,
unlocking regional jobs and energy security


20 June 2024

The Albanese Government is paving the way for energy and job security in a region that has helped to power Australia for generations, with next steps announced for the Hunter offshore wind zone.

This industry represents a huge opportunity for regional Australia, providing reliable renewables to power homes and heavy industry while creating highly skilled and well-paid jobs.

Offshore wind in the Hunter could support future onshore manufacturing, as it builds on the local industrial expertise and infrastructure.

Equinor and Oceanex have been preliminarily offered a feasibility licence for the potential Novocastrian Wind Pty Ltd project. Only one feasibility licence is being proposed because other applications were for overlapping areas and found to be of lower merit.

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.

Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen will conduct further consultation with applicants and First Nations groups before a final decision is made.

Consultation with First Nations groups, communities, unions and marine users will continue throughout the feasibility licence process, while environmental studies and a detailed management plan is prepared.

As well as providing reliable renewable energy to Australian industry, offshore wind projects will be required to maximise their use of Australian supply chains and closely consult with local industry and workers on their project plans to ensure local workers and businesses benefit from the establishment of this new industry.

There are also clear requirements for the offshore wind developer to consult with fishers and avoid, mitigate and offset any impacts on fishing.

The Minister is also announcing today, that he expects recreational fishers will be able to travel and fish within 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.

If feasibility for the Novocastrian Wind Pty Ltd project is proven, the developer can then apply for a commercial licence to build an offshore wind project to generate electricity commercially.

Minister Bowen said the shortlisted project did the most to support the Hunter’s industries and communities while protecting the environment and sharing the ocean.

“The Hunter has been an industrial and economic powerhouse for generations, and my decision today is a big step towards providing that powerhouse with reliable renewables,” Minister Bowen said.

“The project I’ve shortlisted offers the biggest rewards for the Hunter and Australia – supporting our workforce and energy security, protecting our environment and sharing our marine space with the people and industries who rely on it today.”

Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon said that there is no other region as well placed as Newcastle to take advantage of the fantastic opportunities presented by renewable energy and the offshore wind industry.

“Newcastle’s world class infrastructure, our deepwater port, skilled workforce, abundant resources and energy smarts means our region is poised to lead this transformation,” Ms Claydon said.

“A new offshore wind industry in Newcastle means new jobs in local manufacturing, construction, maritime, transport and logistics industries, as well growing our vocational education and training pathways – at TAFE and University.

“This announcement builds on the Albanese Labor Government’s strong commitment to ensuring that regions like Newcastle and the Hunter play a lead role in generating, storing and distributing clean energy now and into the future.”