Marine spatial planning and offshore wind: preliminary principles for Australia
Madeline Taylor Energy and Natural Resources Innovation and Transformation (CENRIT), Macquarie Law School, Macquarie University, Australia

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Australia is endowed with some of the richest and most diverse renewable energy resources. Its offshore wind resources alone equate to an estimated 5,000 Gigawatts (GW) of electricity potential. Given these substantial estimates, offshore wind energy will likely represent a key pillar of Australia’s future renewable energy mix. Australia’s palpable offshore energy potential is increasingly understood and acknowledged. Yet, the critical legal and policy question remains of how its new regulatory framework to enable offshore wind development, the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Act 2021 Act (Cth) (OEI Act), will interact with existing marine sectors and the marine environment. Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) may provide the missing process puzzle piece to enable more strategic coordination of the Australian offshore wind sector within the marine environment. This article adopts a socio-legal approach, examining and drawing upon international experiences to explore the potential adoption of MSP in the Australian offshore wind context. In so doing, the article argues for a coordinated approach to develop a federal MSP process to support and promote strategic offshore wind operations with existing sea users while preserving the Australian marine environment.

Contributor Notes

Senior Lecturer and Deputy Director of the Centre for Energy and Natural Resources Innovation and Transformation (CENRIT), Macquarie Law School, Macquarie University, Australia.

This article draws upon M. Taylor and R. Taylor, ‘Planning for Offshore Wind Energy: The Case for Marine Spatial Planning in Australia’ (2022) OGEL 1. The author wishes to acknowledge Riley Taylor for providing the initial research which this article draws upon.

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