Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Act (Cth) Overview

10 Feb 2022

On 2 December 2021, the Commonwealth Government enacted the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Act (Cth) (Act). The Act provides a regulatory framework for renewable energy infrastructure in the offshore waters of a State or Territory in Australia.

Although the Act does not apply to the coastal waters of a State or Territory, some infrastructure from offshore generators will need to pass through State coastal waters and onto land to sell electricity to the National Electricity Market.

The Essential Services Commission of South Australia’s (Commission) licensing framework is agnostic as to whether a renewable generator and associated infrastructure is located on land or within the South Australia’s coastal waters. The Commission may however need to assess whether any infrastructure passing into State coastal waters from the Commonwealth offshore area requires an electricity licence. 

As the legislation is new, and offshore infrastructure is developing, the Commission will continue its dialogue with other regulatory authorities and develop its approach toward these issues.

The Commission encourages all parties operating offshore infrastructure to contact the Commission during their planning and development stage, to ensure any potential issues are addressed.