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Energy, Environment

MEDIA RELEASE 06.03.24 : Offshore wind decision shows federal government can balance climate action and nature protection

Friends of the Earth 2 mins read

Environmental justice organisation Friends of the Earth have welcomed the federal government’s declaration of the Southern Ocean offshore wind zone, saying it’s a sign that an ecologically sustainable offshore wind industry is achievable.

 

The total size of the exploration area has been significantly reduced, reflecting the need to protect sensitive marine ecosystems like the Bonney Upwelling, a globally significant blue whale feeding area.

 

This demonstrates that an ecologically sustainable offshore wind industry is possible and underscores the need for the federal government to prioritise protections of the environment and cultural heritage as it establishes the industry.

 

“Offshore wind will play a critical role in cutting polluting greenhouse gas emissions by powering millions of homes with clean, renewable energy and is a much better choice than coal and gas” said Pat Simons, Friends of the Earth’s renewable energy spokesperson.

 

Friends of the Earth say the next step is for the federal government to commit to Marine Spatial Planning in offshore wind zones to provide a pathway for deeper engagement with local communities, particularly First Nations.

 

“Governments need to match ambition on offshore wind with better marine planning that protects sensitive ecosystems and gives communities a real seat at the table” said Simons.

 

While the size of the Southern Ocean offshore wind zone has been reduced, it still has the potential to deliver 2.9GW of offshore wind energy – enough to power over 2 million homes.

 

This represents a major contribution to Victoria’s 95% renewable energy target, alongside offshore wind in Gippsland and onshore renewables throughout the state.

 

The offshore wind decision comes as community opposition to seismic blasting for offshore oil and gas continues to rise along the Great Ocean Road, with a paddle out planned at Torquay on the 23rd of March.

 

In December 2023, the Victorian government confirmed that offshore wind does not require seismic blasting, and that surveying can be achieved with safer frequencies compared to oil and gas.

 

Friends of the Earth will continue to track the Southern Ocean offshore wind zone closely, and push for better outcomes for communities and marine ecosystems.


Contact details:

MEDIA CONTACT:

Pat Simons, Yes2Renewables Coordinator, Friends of the Earth

patrick.simons@foe.org.au

0415 789 961

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