A STUDY commissioned by Port of Newcastle suggests that, with the required investment, the port has the capacity to support the development of floating offshore wind technology.

Port of Newcastle commissioned the study after federal minister for climate change and energy Chris Bowen in July last year declared an offshore wind zone off the Hunter coast.

The 1854-square-kilometre offshore wind zone is expected to generate up to five gigawatts of wind energy using floating offshore wind (FOW) technology, Port of Newcastle said.

The port sits adjacent to the declared zone, with a deep-draught navigation channel, an available development area and no bridge infrastructure.

The study assessed the port to determine its suitability for supporting floating offshore wind technology, and the quantity and size of port facilities needed to meet requirements of the five-gigawatt build-out goal.

It found that, with the required investment, the port will be able to service all stages of the development at multiple sites around the port, including at its Walsh Point ant North Arm locations.

“The study indicated that with investment and appropriate stakeholder consultation, the PON has the physical characteristics to support the FOW industry in New South Wales and the wider Australasia region, in a variety of functions including, marshalling, assembly, staging and operations and maintenance,” Port of Newcastle said.

“To service all stages of the FOW development, PON would service the industry via multiple sites locations across the port.

“This strategic development has the potential to not only establish the port as a central hub for floating wind projects in the Australasia region, but also to attract original equipment manufacturers for both floating and fixed-bottom wind developments.”

Port of Newcastle said it would be able to engage directly with project proponents once licences for the Hunter Offshore Wind Zone have been issued by the Commonwealth Government.