WOLLONGONG City Council has signalled its support for developing an offshore wind industry off the Illawarra coastline.
The Council has thrown its unanimous support behind Greens councillor Mithra Cr Cox’s motion at Monday night’s meeting, welcoming a proposal from wind farm company OceanX, and committing to ensure it has all the regulatory pathways in place to allow the wind farm to apply for approval.
“Because this is an entirely new industry in Australia, there is currently no approval pathway,” Cr Cox said.
“After waiting for years, there is finally legislation in the federal parliament that will allow companies to build an offshore wind farms.
“It’s unclear whether local government will also need to approve development applications for either the wind farms, or the onshore cables, but it is imperative that this is clarified as soon as possible so that these hugely significant projects aren’t stalled simply because there is no approval pathway.
“Wollongong wants and needs offshore wind. As an energy intensive industrial city, our future employment prospects and economic growth are dependent on our ability to decarbonise and attract new low carbon industries.
“We need an orderly process, where offshore wind farms are able to safely and easily bring their cables ashore and plug into the grid.
“When the industry developed in the UK, individual wind farms were forced to negotiate multiple contracts with local farmers to bring their energy onshore, across private land. This is the sort of chaos we want to avoid, and instead provide a simple and single onshoring location where the power can feed straight into the electricity grid.
“I was so pleased to have the unanimous support of councillors tonight. It sends a very strong message that Wollongong is up for it, and we welcome large scale offshore wind projects in our city,” Cr Cox said.
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