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Government acts to open up offshore wind power production

Manufacturing News

The federal government is opening up consultations on a proposed new offshore wind energy production zone in the Southern Ocean region from Port MacDonnell in South Australia to Warrnambool in Victoria.

The 5,100 square kilometre area includes Portland, which is home to one of Australia’s largest aluminium smelters operated by Alcoa and draws up to 10 percent of Victoria’s electricity.

Portland Aluminium has a total capacity of 358,000 mtpy.

Aluminium smelters globally are moving to renewable power to boost their environmental credentials.

According to a statement the establishment of an offshore wind industry could support the decarbonisation and future of onshore manufacturing powered by cheaper, cleaner energy.

An area this size has the capacity to support 3,000 jobs in construction and 3,000 jobs ongoing.

The Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen said: “Powering these South Australian and Victorian communities with cheaper, cleaner energy will support them to unlock new regional job opportunities in energy and manufacturing,” the Minister said.

“This area is an ideal location for offshore electricity generation and could enable up to 14GW of offshore wind to be developed, which is the equivalent of powering up to 8.4 million homes.

“Renewable energy is the foundation for Australia’s future, and I’m looking forward to hear from the local community about what they would like to see from this offshore zone.”

Submissions will be open from 28 June to 31 August 2023.

The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water will also facilitate community information sessions, which will be held throughout the region during the consultation period.

The Southern Ocean is one of six key regions around Australia with offshore wind potential, including locations off of Gippsland, the Hunter, the Illawarra, northern Tasmania and Perth/Bunbury.

Picture: Alcoa

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