Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen said public consultation on the proposed Bass Strait off Gippsland area will begin immediately, as the Albanese Government works with communities, environmental groups, industry and the maritime sector to ensure communities are appropriately engaged in establishing this new industry.
The other regions for offshore wind energy projects include:
- The Pacific Ocean region off the Hunter in NSW
- The Pacific Ocean region off the Illawarra in NSW
- The Southern Ocean region off Portland in Victoria
- The Bass Strait region off Northern Tasmania
- The Indian Ocean region off Perth/Bunbury, WA.
Details of the five other regions and the public consultation processes will be announced in due course.
Bowen said unlocking the power of offshore wind in Australia will help power the nation. Offshore wind can help with energy security and resilience due to its power capacity and availability at times when solar power and onshore wind are not available.
The International Energy Agency has even referred to it as in a class of its own – variable baseload power.
Good to excellent offshore wind locations exist at strategic locations. These include sites with existing energy generation facilities and industrial hubs with strong connections to existing transmission networks, near major export ports, and near industrial hubs where the transmission grid is the strongest.
Estimates for the job opportunities of an offshore wind industry in Australia range from 3000-8000 jobs annually. Where offshore wind has been established in other countries, the main pathways into the industry have been from the energy sector and existing offshore industries.
Bowen said he has been fighting to unlock Australia’s offshore wind capacity for years.
“The world’s climate emergency is Australia’s regional jobs opportunity and offshore wind is just one example,” he said.
“Unlocking the offshore wind industry is an exciting new chapter for Australia and we want to build a platform of community collaboration and support around it.
“We have some of the best wind resources in the world – just one rotation of one offshore wind turbine provides as much energy as an average rooftop solar installation generates in one day.
“This new industry will provide opportunities to reduce emissions and fast track job and economic development opportunities for regional Australia particularly in clean energy generation and manufacturing.
“Many other countries have been successfully harvesting offshore wind energy for years, and now is the time for Australia to start the journey to firmly establish this reliable and significant form of renewable energy.”
The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water will facilitate the consultation process in the proposed regions.
The consultation process will be an opportunity for all stakeholders with interests in the proposed areas to provide feedback.