Australian Government Grants Feasibility License for Major Offshore Wind Project

In a move aimed at bolstering Australia's clean energy initiatives, the government has approved a feasibility study for a significant offshore wind farm off the east coast.

Norwegian energy giant and Oceanex Energy have been granted a license to explore the potential of the Novocastrian Wind project, situated more than 20 kilometers offshore Newcastle in New South Wales.

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The project has the capacity to generate over 2 gigawatts of electricity, sufficient to power approximately 1.2 million homes, announced Energy Minister Chris Bowen.

If the feasibility study confirms viability, Oceanex, in collaboration with Equinor, can proceed to apply for a commercial license to develop the offshore wind project. This milestone underscores Australia's emergence as a promising market for offshore wind farms, seen as more expansive and productive compared to onshore wind farms, following the enactment of regulatory frameworks in November 2021.

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Under the feasibility license, developers are authorized to conduct comprehensive environmental assessments and geotechnical surveys, critical steps in the project's advancement.

The government's decision coincides with recent proposals by the opposition Coalition to construct seven nuclear plants by 2050, a contentious move in a nation where nuclear power remains prohibited. Prime Minister criticized the proposal, labeling it “a recipe for an economic catastrophe” likely to escalate costs for taxpayers.

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The Albanese-led Labor government has prioritized accelerating projects to achieve its target of net zero emissions by 2050, aiming for renewables to constitute 82% of the power supply by 2030. Currently, renewable sources contribute around 40%, despite government commitments exceeding A$40 billion to underwrite new wind, solar, and ventures.

In a separate development, the government recently greenlit six projects, including proposals by wind industry leaders Orsted and , to explore the feasibility of offshore wind farms off Victoria's coast. These initiatives underscore Australia's strategic shift towards sustainable energy solutions amid ongoing global efforts to combat climate change.

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