Australia’s developing offshore renewable energy regime – a regulatory map of the current regime
The Australian offshore wind industry has experienced continued positive regulatory and policy support over the last couple of months following the passing of the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Bill 2021 in late 2021. DLA Piper’s Australian Energy & Natural Resources Team has prepared a regulatory map to provide industry participants and stakeholders with an easily digestible overview of how the regulatory regime embodied in the Act interacts with draft supporting Regulations released by the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources for public consultation.
The Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Act 2021 (Act) passed both houses of Parliament in late 2021 and is expected commence in early June 2022. The Act sets out a dedicated framework to facilitate development, construction, operation and decommissioning of fixed and floating renewable generation and transmission projects within Australia’s territorial sea.
On 22 March 2022, the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER) released draft Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Regulations 2022 (Regulations) for public consolidation. The Regulations seek to complement the framework included in the Act by providing stakeholders with further details as to the offering and granting of licences within declared offshore areas for the development of renewable generation and transmission projects – including license application requirements, licensing offering and granting criteria, matters to be considered by the Minister when considering the granting criteria, licensing conditions and requirements for transferring licences.
A summary of the licensing regime embodied in the Act, including the availability of feasibility, commercial, research and demonstration, and transmission and infrastructure licenses together with our views on how the Australian regime compares with other international regimes, can be accessed in our earlier publication here.DLA Piper’s Australian Energy & Natural Resources Team has prepared the following regulatory map to provide industry participants and stakeholders with an easily digestible overview of how the regulatory regime embodied in the Act and proposed Regulations interact.
A regulatory map of the current regime
Public consolidation on the Regulations, together with DISER’s draft Offshore Electricity Infrastructure (Regulatory Levies) Regulations 2022, is open until 22 April 2022.
The release by DISER’s draft Regulations coincided with the announcement by the Victorian Government of Australia’s first offshore wind targets. The Victorian’s Government’s announcement can be accessed here.
The nation leading policy seeks to accelerate the development of offshore wind farms in Victoria, supporting the State's legislated target for a 50% renewable energy powered electricity grid by 2030, driving regional investment, facilitating the creation of new jobs and setting a minimum target for offshore wind power generation in the State. The Victorian’s Government’s plan includes procuring projects in the State that will generate at least 2GW of offshore wind by 2032 (enough to power 1.5 million homes). The policy is intended to be supplemented with an Offshore Wind Implementation Statement to be released later this year.
DLA Piper’s global Energy & Natural Resources practice includes significant expertise in relation to offshore wind project developments and financing. We regularly advise sponsors and lenders in relation to projects across the globe. DLA Piper will be monitoring developments in the nascent offshore renewable energy projects space in Australia and will continue to contribute to the conversation.