Business Hunter is backing the local offshore wind project, saying it could produce the equivalent of the region’s fleet of coal-fired power stations.
Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen visited Newcastle on Thursday 23 February to unveil plans for the $10 billion eight-gigawatt venture.
The 5,000-square-kilometre “zone”, located in the Pacific Ocean, extends from Norah Head in the south to Port Stephens in the north.
Turbines are expected to be located between 10 kilometres and 30 kilometres off the coast, due a request from the Department of Defence.
With the project’s community consultation phase officially underway, Business Hunter CEO Bob Hawes is urging all stakeholders to engage early in the process to avoid delays.
“Large scale renewable energy is critical for the Hunter’s evolution,” he said.
“With the potential to support one of Australia’s largest clean energy projects, this is another clear indication of the role the Hunter will be expected to play in the new energy economy… and the opportunities and challenges that lie before us.
“An efficient and effective consultation and project application and consideration process will ensure we can boost the confidence of commercial investment this project is likely to attract, and provide certainty for businesses who are at the mercy of an increasingly volatile energy market.”
Mr Hawes said energy supply was a key concern for the region.
“The opportunities and tasks around manufacturing, securing labour supply and the logistics required to bring a project of this scale to reality will be enormous,” he explained.
“Our State Election Platform offers practical steps the government can take to ensure we have a ready pipeline of skilled workers to support these endeavours, including a Hunter New Energy Skills Centre modelled on the Institute of Applied Technology at Meadowbank, and an advanced science and technology academy high school.
“This is a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity that requires solid foundations to ensure children who are currently at school and considering their future can understand the prospects available to them in new energy.”
Mr Hawes said Business Hunter’s election platform had also called for strengthening of local supply chains and priority support for businesses wishing to establish or diversify into manufacturing of materials required in renewable energy production, such as solar panels and wind farms.
“Decades of knowledge and capacity building have created an immense energy pedigree in the Hunter,” he added.
“While this offers a solid foundation to build on, our renewable energy ecosystem is still in its infancy and will require support to build momentum and ripen.”
For more news stories:
- Hunter offshore wind project opens door to job, investment opportunities
- Greens plan Hunter’s transition from coal
- Charlestown welcomes state-of-the-art MRI technology
Get all the latest Newcastle news, sport, real estate, entertainment, lifestyle and more delivered straight to your inbox with the Newcastle Weekly Daily Newsletter. Sign up here.