The Federal Government has announced they are opening public consultations for the offshore wind development zone in the Bass Strait off Tasmania’s north coast.
The Federal and Tasmanian governments have estimated the potential offshore wind zone could support thousands of local jobs during construction and in ongoing operations.
The governments and energy analysts have said offshore wind has important decarbonisation potential in Australia due to its large power capacity and availability at times when onshore wind and solar power is not available.
The following commentators can provide expert analysis of this development and Australia’s renewable energy capacity more broadly:
Marilyne Crestias, Clean Energy Investor Group Policy Director, said:
“Business leaders and investors have the will and the capital to invest in these nation-building projects so our members are delighted the Federal Government has opened consultation on the Bass Strait offshore wind zone.
“Investors play a vital role in Australia achieving its commitment to the Paris Agreement, particularly being able to limit global warming to 1.5°C and the potential of these renewable energy zones is enormous in our ability to act on climate and secure Australia’s future prosperity.”
Location: Melbourne , VIC
Toby Thorpe, Tasmania Community Engagement Manager, RE-Alliance, can talk about how this announcement will have a positive effect on harnessing Australia’s incredible offshore wind potential, as well as how wind farms provide major economic benefits to regional communities in which they operate.
Greg Bourne, Climate Councillor at the Climate Council and energy expert said: “Today’s progress on the Tasmanian offshore wind zone is another step towards cleaner and cheaper energy, good jobs in our regions, and a resilient renewable energy system for Australia. The persistent winds of the Bass Strait are a key resource for steady power supply, setting a firm foundation for our renewable energy transition.
“Offshore wind is a valuable part of our renewable energy grid. Its strength lies in its ability to provide constant power when the sun goes down or onshore winds ease.
“This initiative sets the stage for a growing industry, creating job opportunities in high-tech roles, offshore engineering, and administration, while boosting local supply chains. It's a step towards building a clean energy powerhouse, driving economic growth, and advancing our climate action efforts.”
Location: Sydney , NSW
Tim Buckley, senior energy market analyst, director of Climate Energy Finance, said:
“Offshore wind is a key scaleable decarbonisation solution for the world. Installations globally are expected to increase dramatically this coming decade as China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, India and the US all look to leverage the massive experience achieved in Europe over the last decade. There is an enormous pipeline of investment proposals in this new field emerging globally.
“Offshore wind's importance in Australia is far more nuanced because we are blessed with great onshore wind and solar resources, which are cheaper to develop. But as we look to move well above 82% renewable energy penetration beyond 2030, offshore wind is looking increasingly promising in terms of playing a key role in technology diversity and grid firming.
“We need to weigh up the additional costs related to offshore wind construction and see where it makes the most economic sense, and how clever government, finance and industry collaboration can ensure we create the right sequencing to ensure development of domestic supply chain capacities.
“Energy Minister Chris Bowen is right to open off-shore wind for public consultation. Off-shore wind development is going to need a high degree of policy support and forward planning because of the complex supply chains that would have to be developed in Australia and higher costs of construction relative to onshore wind alternatives. We need to ensure the full value is recognised from offshore wind in terms of reliability and grid balancing from higher capacity factors and geographic diversity of supply, which really supports and complements the low cost but intermittent nature of onshore wind and solar.
“It’s really important that developing offshore wind is a combined federal and state initiative, because no one state can justify the supply chain investment alone. We need consecutive project proposal developments through to 2035-2040, so that domestic capacities are deployed in sequence to the various project proposals across Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and West Australia, and then potentially in New Zealand as well. This will allow longevity of demand to cover the high initial domestic manufacturing supply chain set up costs.
“When we talk about offshore wind in Australia, it makes great sense to use the established electricity grid infrastructure of power producing regions like Victoria's Latrobe Valley, and the Hunter and Illawarra regions in NSW, and provide an alternative, high-value employment opportunities for the skilled labour there. This will help to balance and reduce the higher cost of off-shore wind development when considered on balance.”
Location: Sydney, NSW
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