Reliable renewables to power regional jobs and provide energy security for homes and industry, with an offshore wind zone declared off the Illawarra

Dept of Climate Change, Energy, Environment & Water

The Hon Chris Bowen MP, Minister for Climate Change and Energy

The Hon Stephen Jones MP, Assistant Treasurer

Alison Byrnes MP, Member for Cunningham

The Albanese Government is securing regional jobs and providing energy security for homes and businesses in the Illawarra, including Australia’s largest steelworks, with an offshore wind zone declared in the Pacific Ocean off the Illawarra in New South Wales.

Following extensive community consultation with local leaders, industry, unions, First Nations people, community groups and individuals the Illawarra offshore wind zone has been amended

The amended zone will now be 20 kilometres from the coast and excludes significant environmental areas including the Biologically Important Area for the Little Penguin, the Shelf Rocky Reef Key Ecological Feature and the Southern Right Whale migration and reproduction area.

The final area for the zone is 1,022 km2 – reducing the zone by a third from the originally proposed zone.

This is the fourth officially declared zone in the country and will unlock renewable energy jobs, energy security and job security, while supporting onshore manufacturing powered by reliable renewables.

It will bring new employment opportunities to the Illawarra, creating an estimated 1,740 new jobs during construction and 870 ongoing jobs. This includes engineers, technicians, operators, riggers, seafarers, dockworkers, project managers and administrators.

The zone will also power existing heavy industry with cleaner, cheaper energy, helping secure the future of thousands of existing industrial and associated jobs in the Illawarra as well as providing opportunities to attract new job-creating industries using clean energy.

It has the potential to generate an estimated 2.9 GW of electricity, enough to power 1.8 million homes.

As well as providing reliable renewable energy to Australian industry, offshore wind projects will be required to maximise their use of Australian supply chains including steel 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.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen:

“The Illawarra has been an engine room of the Australian economy for generations, and now it’s ready to power Australia’s clean energy future.

“Declaring this offshore wind zone brings the Illawarra a step closer to becoming a major provider of the building blocks of the net zero transformation – green power, green hydrogen and green steel – along with thousands of new jobs.”

Quotes attributable to Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones:

“We want Australia to be a global renewable energy superpower, and regions such as the Illawarra have an important role to play in our nation’s energy transformation.

“The declaration of this offshore wind zone represents our government’s commitment to supporting local jobs and delivering cheaper and more reliable energy for Illawarra businesses and households.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Cunningham Alison Byrnes:

“I am pleased that the zone has been amended to reflect the suggestions that Stephen and I made to the Minister following our own discussions and consultations with the community.

“Amending the zone so that it commences 20 kilometres from the coast and excluding significant environmental areas is a sensible compromise that reflects the majority of community opinion while helping to achieve our shared goals of more renewable energy, more jobs and fewer emissions.

“Of course the declaration of a zone is not the final step. There is now an extensive process of studies and approvals that will be required but this is a positive step for a region that wants to secure its industrial future and power it using clean energy.

“My expectation is that all proponents not only make sure that their projects meet the highest environmental standards but also incorporate local content, including the use of locally produced steel, and local workforce and develop a strong benefit sharing scheme so that our community meaningfully benefits from hosting an offshore wind farm should one be developed.”

Feasibility licence applications for offshore wind projects in the Illawarra zone open from Monday 17 June and close on 15 August 2024.

These licences will only be awarded to developers whose proposed projects do the most to support Australia’s workforce and energy security, protect the environment and share the marine space with shipping, tourism and fishing industries.

Construction can only begin after the feasibility stage is completed and developers have gained subsequent environmental and management plan approvals, as well as demonstrating how projects will benefit Australian industry and jobs.

The final declared zone can be found at:

/Public Release. View in full here.