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Offshore renewable energy

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Offshore renewable energy includes offshore wind farms, wave and tidal power as well as emerging technologies like ocean thermal energy.

Developing the offshore renewable energy sector supports the Australian Government’s objective to deliver a reliable, secure and affordable energy system through:

  • helping to grow new sources of energy supply
  • providing clean and efficient technology
  • ensuring the energy sector is well regulated

Offshore renewable energy generation can:

  • offer large, year-round generation capacity
  • provide benefits to the electricity network
  • lessen visual impacts on the landscape, compared to other energy generation options
  • establish new employment opportunities
  • attract significant investment in Australia’s coastal economies

Developing a regulatory framework

There are currently no offshore renewable energy projects in Australia, and there is no legislation in place to support their development. As technology improves and costs reduce, interest in offshore renewable energy projects, particularly offshore wind, is expected to grow.

To facilitate future investment, the government is investigating development of a regulatory framework to enable the construction, operation and decommissioning of offshore renewable energy projects.

The framework will also consider options to enable installation and protection of electricity transmission infrastructure. The framework will apply from 3 nautical miles from the coast out into Australia’s exclusive economic zone.

Our offshore areas are used by a broad range of industry sectors as well as for public recreational use.  

Given this broad range of stakeholders, consultation is an important part of developing a regulatory framework. We consulted on the proposed regulatory framework in 2020. Stakeholder feedback indicated overwhelming support for the government’s proposal to continue developing the regulatory framework.

Exploration licence

The government provided a deed of licence for an offshore wind farm project to facilitate exploration. Find out about the Star of the South.

The licence area is located in Australian Commonwealth waters about 8 to 13 kilometres off the Gippsland coast in Victoria. The licence is valid for 5 years with the potential to extend for an additional 2 years.

During the term of the licence, activities will include assessing wind resources and sea bed conditions to inform a wind farm proposal.

Before exploration activity can commence, the licence requires:

  • further approvals, including environmental approvals
  • community and industry consultation

This licence doesn’t provide the right to construct or operate an offshore wind farm.

You can get involved by visiting the Star of the South consultation website.

Locations under exploration

Location Co-ordinate system

Decimal degrees

Degrees, minutes, seconds




38° 37ˈ14.7822ˈˈS

147° 1ˈ 31.6446ˈˈE




38° 41ˈ 25.0908ˈˈS

147° 9ˈ 5.7414ˈˈE




38° 52ˈ 25.6224ˈˈS

146° 55ˈ 32.6094ˈˈE




38° 55ˈ 2.9346ˈˈS

146° 49ˈ 46.2894ˈˈE




38° 50ˈ 0.1674ˈˈS

146° 44ˈ 9.8838ˈˈE

Total area = 496 km2

View a map of the exploration licence on the Star of the South consultation website.

Read more

The government announced the approval of the exploration licence in March 2019.

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Last updated: 12 November 2020

Content ID: 67614