A renewable energy industry built on large-scale offshore wind farms could unlock billions of dollars in investment and create thousands of jobs in Newcastle, offering a sustainable future for the city.
Speaking at an online event last night hosted by Friends of the Earth and Climate Council exploring Australia’s opportunity in offshore wind, Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said Newcastle was perfectly positioned to embrace this new industry.
“Features that make us one of the largest coal regions also position us perfectly to become a major national and international clean energy player,” Cr Nelmes said.
“This includes a highly skilled workforce, our accessibility to the National Energy Grid and the untapped potential of the Port of Newcastle to become an export hub for ‘green’ manufactured resources and materials such as green steel and hydrogen.
“This industry offers many benefits, but its development must be done with guarantees in place that it would preference the employment of local workers and use of local materials for the benefit of our communities.”
The forum heard from representatives from the energy industry and the Maritime Union of Australia to explore broader issues and long-term actions around the development of offshore wind as submissions are received on the Australian Parliament’s Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Bill.
Offshore wind farms have been developed globally for almost 30 years as a viable source of renewable energy.
A number of sites around Australia have been identified for possible offshore wind farms, including two potential projects off the coast of Newcastle.
Cr Nelmes said this industry has the potential to deliver a host of benefits for the state and our region, but was mindful of the need for measures to be put in place to protect and deliver local jobs.
“City of Newcastle has a long history of supporting and implementing renewable energy projects, including becoming the first local government in NSW to move to 100 per cent renewable electricity,” Cr Nelmes said.
“With the correct legislative and regulatory framework, offshore wind along the coast of Newcastle has the potential to play a significant role in sustaining our state’s future energy needs, could unlock billions in new investment in renewable energy infrastructure and provide a significant boost to the local economy.”