Chris Bowen: Offshore wind farms “not imminent or inevitable”

Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen (seated) with fisherman Greg Finn.

SPEAKING exclusively to News Of The Area, Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen said the construction of an offshore wind farm off the Hunter coast is neither “imminent or inevitable”.

Last week, Bowen attended a closed-door community meeting in Nelson Bay with Member for Paterson Meryl Swanson and a selection of concerned locals.

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As a result, a consultation group featuring key industry representation from the region is to be formed to meet regularly with the Minister.

With the Federal Government now receiving Feasibility Licence applications from developers, the Minister would not commit to how many wind farms, if any, would be approved in the Hunter Zone.

“It is a fairly small area and I don’t want to preempt how many farms will be there – I don’t know yet.”

While Minister Bowen is charged with delivering Australia’s transition to renewable energy, he has no say over the environmental impact of any proposed developments.

“That goes to the Minister for the Environment, and I don’t lobby that Minister.”

To ensure objectivity, the Department of Environment assesses applications for independence.

“One of the criticisms is that it takes too long (to get environmental approval) but if it is not good enough the application goes back.

“If an offshore wind farm doesn’t pass the environmental standards – that is it and it won’t go ahead.”

The Minister wants the community to understand that there is a big difference between a wind zone being declared and the delivery of a working offshore wind farm.

“It’s like having your learner’s permit to drive – you still have to pass the test to get to your P’s.”

When questioned about the option of ramping up solar rather than offshore wind to meet Australia’s energy demands, the Minister responded that the Government needs to “look at all of it”.

“Offshore (wind farms) I understand has more jobs than solar.

“Solar might or might not be a good idea next to Williamtown.”


One thought on “Chris Bowen: Offshore wind farms “not imminent or inevitable”

  1. Dear Mr Chris Bowen Sir,Please reconsider your decision on wind farm construction in the Port Stephens coastal region,as it takes up an enormous area for them to be successful in regeneration,also dependant on weather,and the interference & detriment to our whale migration, birds & wild life & marine life our our tourism & livelihoods depend on yours sincerely Lyn Myers ph0418895680 thankyou for your time.

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