Offshore wind can reindustrialise regional Australia

Today’s passing of the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure bills can unlock billions in green exports

25 November 2021

  • Offshore wind key to unlocking $333 billion green exports industry
  • Australia ideally suited for industrial-scale offshore wind projects
  • Regional industrial centres & workers set to be big winners from offshore wind

Today’s passing of the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure bills is an excellent start to reviving manufacturing in regional Australia and unlocking the billions in riches in a green export economy, new energy think tank Beyond Zero Emissions said.

“Offshore wind means onshore jobs,” said Beyond Zero Emissions’ Head of Policy and Research, Tom Quinn. “Every job created in offshore wind creates another eight onshore jobs.

“It’s not just the construction phase of offshore wind farms – that’s thousands of jobs on its own – but also the onshore manufacturing of blades, turbines and towers. It’s often cheaper to build the massive turbines close by rather than transport them from remote locations.

“Offshore wind will help reindustrialise Australia by providing the energy needed to turbocharge regional manufacturing, producing green steel and aluminium, hydrogen and ammonia, and batteries and critical minerals. Our research shows that Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts across Australia could generate $333 billion in green exports by 2050.

“Offshore wind investment will require further process certainty though. The legislation requires regulation and a clear process and timeline for the Minister to declare an offshore renewable energy infrastructure area.

“Offshore wind backers are champing at the bit to get going, with three projects already slated for the Gippsland coast and three off Newcastle. The Australian Energy Market Operator has targeted four regions – north-west Tasmania, Gippsland, Illawarra and Newcastle – which could each produce 10 gigawatts of power. Australia uses 70GW of power annually. The three Gippsland projects alone will create 5600 jobs and attract $18 billion investment for regional Victoria.

“Offshore wind projects could support a resurgence in manufacturing in regional Australia, with the supply of high quality, long-duration renewable energy. The luck of Australia’s unique geography means there are exceptional offshore wind resources located next door to many of our regional industrial hubs, including the Hunter and Illawarra.

“Offshore wind is the key that will unlock the industrial future of regional Australia. Economic analysis by BZE has shown that establishing Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts in locations like the Hunter could attract $28 billion in capital investment, generate $11 billion in revenue by 2032 and create 34,000 jobs. Offshore wind is the power source regional industry needs.”

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