MEDIA RELEASE: 23 Nov 2021
Vic govt investment positions Gippsland at forefront of offshore wind jobs
Victoria could soon become an offshore wind powerhouse, with the Andrews government announcing $40 million in funding for three offshore wind proposals off the coast of Gippsland today.
Friends of the Earth welcome the news, and say making Victoria’s Gippsland region an offshore wind powerhouse will help deliver deep emissions cuts, and create thousands of new job opportunities and a transition pathway for coal communities.
“Offshore wind is a critical sector for the Victorian government to deliver its legislated commitments to climate change and meet Emissions Reduction Targets,” said Pat Simons, Friends of the Earth renewable energy spokesperson.
“The Andrews government’s announcement puts Gippsland at the forefront of this exciting new industry and jobs.”
Together the three projects proposed by Star of the South, Macquarie Group and Flotation Energy have the potential to create up to 5,600 jobs, bring more than $18 billion in investment to the state and power around 3.6 million homes with clean, renewable energy.
The $40 million in state government funding will support feasibility and environmental studies for the three offshore wind proposals, which could see 4.7 Gigawatts of new renewable energy delivered to the Victorian grid.
Gippsland has long been at the centre of the state’s power system and is home to the state’s three remaining coal fired power stations. Offshore wind represents a new opportunity for the region.
“With the Yallourn coal-fired power station set to close by 2028, we need to start planning for the state’s future energy needs and creating new jobs for people in Gippsland” said Wendy Farmer, Friends of the Earth’s Gippsland Renewables campaigner.
“Offshore wind represents an opportunity to create thousands of new jobs in Gippsland in everything from manufacturing and construction to logistics, maintenance and more, and uphold the region’s proud history of power generation” said Farmer.
The announcement comes as a final vote on legislation to enable offshore wind projects in Commonwealth Waters is expected in the Senate during the final sitting days of Federal Parliament.
Friends of the Earth encourages all parties to support Australia’s first offshore wind bill, which is a critical first step to establishing this jobs-rich sector that will be a game changer for climate action.
Friends of the Earth will seek a briefing to learn more about the proposals and the potential to make Victoria’s Gippsland region an offshore wind powerhouse, and says early engagement with First Nations, workers and the wider community is essential for the future of offshore wind.