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Offshore wind proposal vital piece of energy jigsaw: Hawes

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The region’s peak business body is the latest organisation to welcome the Australian Government’s announcement to develop an offshore wind energy project off the Hunter.

Minister for Climate Change Chris Bowen declared last week the Pacific Ocean was one of the six proposed areas under consideration in its plans to shore up the country’s renewable future.

Following Hunter Workers’ endorsement at the weekend, Business Hunter CEO Bob Hawes has also joined the chorus of support, stating it’s “a vital piece of the local energy jigsaw”.

“With legislation now in the federal parliament to deliver a 43% emissions reduction target by 2030, this decision will help unleash the nation’s renewable energy capabilities by harnessing the power of offshore wind,” he said.

“It’s seen as a way of helping with energy security and resilience in a renewable energy world due to its power capacity and availability at times when solar power and onshore wind are not available.

“This is positive news for the region and comes on the back of several years of early development work and campaigning by many local stakeholders to attract potential proponents to the Hunter, and to secure the necessary support of government to make such a project possible.

“We are aware of a range of strong and serious proponent interest in offshore wind projects off the Hunter’s coast.

“And, this was re-affirmed in the expression of interest process for the Renewable Energy Zone.”

Mr Hawes said if the projects advanced, and commissioned, they would be beneficial “to all”.

“This federal announcement provides the much-needed certainty for these proponents to invest further and for the community to prepare and plan for these major projects,” he explained.

“The Hunter is ideally placed to have offshore wind farms, with onshore transmission infrastructure largely in place and potential offtakes required to support the ventures also identified that would support an offshore wind farm and more broadly a national renewable energy industry.

“Having local large users of energy in proximity will not only give confidence to project proponents but also the users of the energy as they would face a bleak future if we don’t commission renewable energy projects that have a capacity to generate reliable and affordable power at scale.

“Unlocking wind and other forms of renewable energy for the Hunter also significantly improves the regions prospects of developing a green hydrogen industry and distribution hub for the northwest of NSW and for export to international markets, especially in Asia.

“Collectively, these projects will play an important role in the Hunter becoming a major Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) under the NSW Government’s Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap and realise the enormous ambitions we have in the new energy economy.”

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