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The Federal Government has made a preliminary decision to shortlist the offshore Novocastrian Wind project for the next stage of the feasibility licensing process.  

Equinor and Oceanex have been preliminarily offered a feasibility licence for the potential Novocastrian Wind project.  

The Offshore Infrastructure Registrar received eight feasibility licence applications across the 1,854km2 zone. 

The Federal Government said that only one feasibility licence is being proposed because other applications were for overlapping areas and found to be of lower merit. 

If approved, the proposed project could: 

  • Deliver 2GW of renewable electricity 
  • Power 1.2 million homes 
  • Deliver around 3,000 jobs during construction and between 200 and 300 ongoing jobs 
  • Provide more job opportunities with suppliers 

New South Wales Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen, is expected to 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. 

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

Mr Bowen said that 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,” Mr 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 Federal 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.” 

Featured image: A map showing the location for the proposed Novocastrian Wind project. Image credit: Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water. 

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