Environment group Friends of the Earth welcomes the release of draft guidelines for environmental assessments of the landmark Star of the South project, and say the case for a national regulatory framework for offshore wind is now urgent.
The draft scoping guidelines set out what the Star of the South is required to study, assess and report on as part of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) at the federal level and an Environment Effects Statement (EES) at the state level.
As Australia’s first offshore wind farm, it’s essential that planning for the Star of the South is robust and transparent, with strong protections for sensitive ecosystems built in from the start.
“The Star of the South represents an opportunity to create new jobs in renewable energy for Gippsland and put the region on the map as the energy transition gets underway” said Wendy Farmer, Yes2Renewables Gippsland Campaigner for Friends of the Earth.
“This is an opportunity for people in the community to shape the design of Australia’s first offshore wind farm for the better, and to make sure establishing the sector is done well” said Farmer.
Offshore wind represents a significant opportunity for Australia to deliver deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity sector while creating new jobs as part of a just transition away from polluting fossil fuels.
The long term success of offshore wind in Australia will depend on the responsible development of the industry and protecting sensitive ecosystems.
The Star of the South is the most advanced of twelve offshore wind projects proposed around the country.
In addition to the environmental assessment of Star of the South, it’s critical that the federal Morrison government deliver a robust legal framework to permit and regulate offshore wind. This is required to strategically determine the most appropriate locations to develop offshore wind projects in Commonwealth Waters.
Friends of the Earth will be tracking the dual EIS/EES process for Star of the South closely, and encourage community members to get involved to shape offshore wind for the better. The documents will be available for public review and comment until midnight 27 July 2021.
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