Renewable Energy – The Answer Is Blowing In The Wind

 

RENEWABLE energy and reducing emissions is now a higher priority for the Australian Government.

Australia’s commitment to reducing emissions has come under the international spotlight and we are seen as a nation that must do better.

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The Federal Government has introduced legislation that will pave the way for construction of Australia’s first offshore wind farms.

Port Stephens and Newcastle are well placed to host offshore wind farms.

Experts say a renewable energy industry built on large-scale offshore wind farms could unlock billions of dollars in investment and create thousands of jobs in the region, offering a sustainable future for the community.

In the wake of this legislation, Weld Australia is calling on the Federal Government to mandate local content in the construction of critical national infrastructure projects such as these wind farms.

The Offshore Energy Infrastructure Bill could permit the construction of the 2.2-gigawatt Star of the South wind farm off the Gippsland coast in Victoria’s south-east.

The Bill could also enable construction of windfarms in our region.

According to Geoff Crittenden, Chief Executive Officer, Weld Australia, “The only way to ensure that these massive wind turbines meet Australian Standards for reliability, quality and safety is to award the fabrication contracts to local Australian companies.

“Local fabricators comply with internationally recognised Australian Standards and are certified by the relevant Australian authority.

“The Star of the South and Marinus Link interconnector projects alone are worth $10 billion combined and are expected to create 10,000 jobs.”

If the turbines are built in regional areas it would potentially see thousands of jobs created in areas like Tomago.

“The importance of our local manufacturing industry cannot be underestimated when it comes to Australia’s post-COVID recovery.

“Australia’s jobs-driven COVID-19 recovery must be manufacturing-led.”

Industry is calling on the government to make manufacturing a national priority.

“Government, at all levels, must support and invest in the manufacturing sector to aid its growth.

“Mandating local content in national infrastructure projects is the only way to ensure product quality and public safety, create new jobs, and strengthen Australia’s economy,” said Crittenden.

Speaking at an online event last week hosted by Friends of the Earth and the Climate Council, exploring Australia’s opportunity in offshore wind, Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the region was perfectly positioned to embrace this new industry.

“Features that make us one of the largest coal regions also position us perfectly to become a major national and international clean energy player,” Cr Nelmes said.

Offshore wind farms have been developed globally for almost 30 years as a viable source of renewable energy.

A number of sites around Australia have been identified for possible offshore wind farms, including two potential projects off the coast of Newcastle.

Cr Nelmes believes this industry has the potential to deliver a host of benefits for the state and our region, but was mindful of the need for measures to be put in place to protect and deliver local jobs.

Dr Simon Bradshaw, Climate Council Research Director, said, “As one of the sunniest and windiest countries on earth, Australia could be a global renewable energy powerhouse.

“Every day of delay is a missed economic opportunity.

“Australia’s climate inaction also creates national security risks and weakens our standing with key allies such as the United States that have security concerns in the Indo-Pacific region which are being exacerbated by our do-nothing attitude,” added Dr Bradshaw.

 

By Marian SAMPSON

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