Equinor to target NSW offshore wind with local partner

Hywind Scotland floating wind farm. Image Michal Wachucik ©Equinor.

August 30 (Renewables Now) - Norwegian energy group Equinor ASA (NYSE:EQNR) has joined forces with Australia and New Zealand offshore wind developer Oceanex Energy to further offshore wind opportunities in the state of New South Wales, the companies said on Tuesday.

Oceanex has been working on offshore wind projects in New South Wales, focusing on the Novocastrian, Illawarra and Eden offshore wind farm schemes in the Hunter Valley, Illawarra and South Coast regions. The flagship Illawarra and Novocastrian projects will total about 4 GW and target the start of construction in 2028, according to previous information by the company.

Equinor and Oceanex said they plan to file feasibility licence applications for offshore wind acreage in the respective three regions, once the Australian government announces the relevant declared areas.

The partners are encouraged by signs that the Australian government is keen to develop an offshore wind industry in the country. Earlier this month, the government officially proposed the waters off Gippsland, Victoria, as the country’s first zone for offshore wind development, a day after the country’s new climate bill was passed in the lower house of parliament.

“Our ambition is to apply our industrial offshore experience and broad energy competence to create long-lasting value and supply homegrown renewables power to Australia by working closely with a strong local partner such as Oceanex in New South Wales,” said Lars Johannes Nordli, vice president Business Development Renewables Asia and Pacific at Equinor.

“We believe that Equinor, as leaders in offshore wind and floating foundation development, are the ideal partner to progress these exciting projects,” remarked Oceanex chief executive Andy Evans.

The deal, which will see Equinor and Oceanex’s shareholders co-invest in entities to explore the development opportunities, is expected to complete in the final quarter of 2022.

Meanwhile, New South Wales yesterday announced that a call for registration of interest (ROI) for developing large-scale projects within the Illawarra Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) has attracted 44 projects with a potential capacity of 17 GW. Interest has been expressed for 10 wind schemes totalling 12.9 GW, of which eight offshore.

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Plamena has been a UK-focused reporter for many years. As part of the Renewables Now team she is taking a keen interest in policy moves.

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