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Stuart

Stuart Smith

Year of Award: 2018 Award State: Western Australia Environment > Energy And Resources
To identify leading global practice in offshore renewable regulation for adoption in Australia - UK, France, Belgium, Germany, Denmark
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Australia needs a regulatory model for offshore renewables. Large scale offshore wind developments are becoming cost competitive with other forms of energy more traditionally used for electricity generation. Such developments have become commonplace in Europe where wind energy now comprises around 20GW of electricity generation capacity. Projects are also being proposed for Australian waters and global offshore renewable developers are expressing interest in the country as an investment destination if a regulatory model can be introduced.

Recognising the imperative for action, the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust awarded a Fellowship to the Chief Executive Officer of Australia’s offshore energy regulator, to visit Europe in April/ May 2019 and investigate leading international practice in the regulation of offshore renewables.

Criteria for the identification of a suitable regulatory model were developed that reflect the immaturity of the offshore renewable industry in Australia. Those criteria included the need for a regulatory model that will:

  • maintain high standards for health, safety, structural integrity and environmental management
  • prove cost effective (in recognition of the narrowmargins currently achieved in the industry)
  • impose no unnecessary regulatory burden
  • be flexible enough to accommodate high rates of industry innovation
  • have provision for exceptional circumstances, (noting that the industry can range from large scale, offshore wind projects down to small demonstration projects for emerging technologies); and
  • be tailored to Australian circumstances (such as federal system of government and private ownership of some grid infrastructure).

Findings from the Fellowship confirm that a suitable model can be adopted for Australia, leveraging off existing capability and processes used for other activities like the regulation of offshore petroleum. The proposed model is summarised in the diagram below and outlined in the next section. More detailed analysis is documented in the following report which includes case studies of four leading jurisdictions at Appendices A-D. These jurisdictions cover Denmark, the United Kingdom, France and Germany. Additional insights were received from Belgium and The Netherlands and supplemented with input from representatives of the industry in Australia and Federal and State government officials.


Keywords: offshore renewables, offshore wind, spatial planning, strategic assessment, pre-qualification, government support, grid connection, bid determination, titling, consenting, regulatory oversight

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