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  • An Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Bill has been tabled in parliament as a proposed framework for Australia’s dawning renewable energy industry
  • Should it pass both houses, the bill would allow licence holders to undertake offshore infrastructure projects including wind, wave and tidal
  • Australia currently has no offshore wind generation but has several projects awaiting legislation of this nature
  • Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor says an offshore electricity industry would further strengthen Australia’s economy

An Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Bill has been tabled in parliament as a proposed framework for Australia’s dawning renewable energy industry.

The bill, which was introduced in the House of Representatives today, would allow licence holders to undertake offshore infrastructure activities within the Commonwealth offshore area.

These activities may include offshore renewable energy projects, including offshore wind, wave and tidal generation.

The outline suggests that regulatory certainty will allow investors to move forward with their projects in the hopes of allowing a new offshore industry to develop in Australia.

Background information on the bill acknowledged that Australia’s offshore electricity sector was at an “early stage of development” compared to other countries.

“The bill provides a robust framework for granting licences to undertake offshore infrastructure activities in the Commonwealth offshore area while providing for the safety of workers and the protection of Offshore Electricity Infrastructure,” the outline for the bill reads.

There are currently more than 10 offshore wind projects that could benefit from the legislation, according to Australia’s Climate Council.

CSIRO has previously said Australia has “abundant” offshore wind resources but is yet to fully capitalise on its potential.

According to an outline of the bill, the proposed legislation would facilitate the growth of new sources of energy supply, deliver reliable and improved grid security and ensure the energy sector is “well regulated”.

In a statement accompanying the proposed bill, Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor spoke of the business opportunities associated with a new offshore industry.

“An offshore electricity industry in Australia will further strengthen our economy, create jobs and opportunities for Australians, and enhance the delivery of affordable and reliable power,” the Minister said.

“Importantly this Bill will accelerate a number of projects already under development like the Marinus Link transmission line, which will connect the mainland to Tasmania’s Battery of the Nation project.”

Climate Council spokesperson Dr Madeline Taylor said investing in this industry was a “no-brainer”.

“Australia’s wind capacity has been likened to the North Sea – an area that’s leading the world in offshore wind generation,” she said.

“Offshore wind coupled with other offshore renewable energy sources and storage can fill any reliability gaps and at the same time, lower our greenhouse gas emissions.”

There is currently no offshore wind generation in Australia.

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