Towering structures on scenic coastline

Towering structures on scenic coastline

Massive wind turbines that stretch 260m into the sky could soon become a regular fixture on some of Australia’s most iconic and scenic coastlines.

The federal government announced the six preferred sites for the country’s first offshore wind farms last week after years of waiting.

The Gippsland coast in Victoria‘s south-east will be the first preferred location, a 60-day consultation period has already started so the area can be declared a legally suitable site.

This same process will soon begin in NSW’s Hunter region, followed by the Illawarra region in NSW, Portland in Victoria, the Bass Strait north of Tasmania, and Perth and Bunbury in Western Australia.

Dozens of the wind turbines will be 260m tall, almost double the size of the Sydney Harbour Bridge which sits at 135m.

The blades alone will be more than 100m long, which is bigger than New York’s Statue of Liberty.

When he announced the proposed sites for the wind farms last week, Energy Minister Chris Bowen said Australia needs to catch up with the rest of the world.

“We’re way behind the game, way behind the rest of the world, in producing wind off our coastline,” he said.

“We have some of the best wind resources in the world.

“Just one rotation of one offshore wind turbine provides as much energy as an average rooftop solar installation generates in one day.”

He said the consultation periods are about alleviating any concerns regarding the wind farms in the preferred areas they have nominated.

“There’ll be questions, there’ll be valid concerns, there’ll be issues that need to be worked through with communities, whether they be recreational fishers, commercial fishers, environmental issues that need to be factored in,” Mr Bowen said.

“This is exactly what will be happening over the next 60 days in Gippsland and it’s what we’ll be doing across these zones over the next 18 months.”

He said the Star of the South wind farm project in Gippsland will be just 7km off the coast and should generate enough power to provide for 20 per cent of Victoria‘s energy needs.

The wind turbines are expected to be a key part of the federal government’s plan to cut emissions to 43 per cent by 2030.

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