Australian news, and some related international items

NSW Ports boss backs offshore wind farm plant ahead of nuclear base

ABC Illawarra / By Jessica CliffordMelinda James, and Tim Fernandez 22 Feb 23

NSW Ports chief executive Marika Calfas has called for the state’s trade needs to be prioritised ahead of a nuclear base, while unveiling plans for an offshore wind farm facility at Port Kembla.

Key points:

  • The facility at Port Kembla would support windfarms on the NSW coast
  • Port Kembla is adjacent to the federal government’s proposed Illawarra offshore wind development zone
  • The project would need significant government investment to proceed.

……………………………. The ABC understands Port Kembla has been identified as the Department of Defence’s preferred site for a nuclear submarine base.

Ms Calfas said she was not aware of the deparment’s plans but said the state’s trade needs should come first.

“We would like to think everyone recognises the importance of ports,” she said.

“Particularly over the last three years with the issues which have occurred globally in terms of supply chains and how important it is that our ports can support the needs of our island nation moving forward.

The Defence Strategic Review was delivered to the government earlier this month with a report expected to be published in March.

Labor Member for Cunningham, Alison Byrnes, recently returned from a tour of a US Submarine base in Connecticut and said the location of the base will not be revealed until after community consultation.

“This process was started by the former government, so they put the three proposed sites on the table,” Ms Byrnes said.

“I have said to our Defence Minister that there needs to be, shortly after the release of the defence strategic review, a community leaders’ consultation to start talking about the way forward … to choose a site for the submarine location.”

Billion-dollar boost to economy

Offshore wind farms have been proposed for parts of the NSW coastline, including the Central Coast, Illawarra and South Coast, but do not yet have final approval.

BlueFloat is among the companies interested in establishing a wind farm off the coast of the Illawarra.

Technical project director David Delamore said the company was looking at establishing two farms about 14 kilometres offshore.

“The project we are looking at is over 100 turbines, this is a huge project it is a billion-dollar project and it needs a large work force as well,” he said.

“We need trained personnel, so we definitely need to be tapping into the local business communities and looking to establish training facilities to address any skills gaps.”

The federal government will begin consultations over the proposed offshore wind farm zones later this year.

Ms Calfas said the lack of certainty for the region makes it difficult for businesses to plan for the future.

“I think the need for clarity and the need for certainty is really important,” she said.

“The sooner we can get that, the sooner everyone can progress with their planning, the sooner everyone can progress with their investment plans and the sooner we can all start delivering on those benefits of jobs and investments.”


February 23, 2023 - Posted by | New South Wales, wind

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