According to an academic specializing in renewable energy, newly built wind and solar power plants are the cheapest and fastest technologies to help tackle the country’s energy crisis.
- Sustainability expert Sven Teske says solar and onshore wind farms are the cheapest ways to generate electricity
- Renewables are also independent of external market pressures, such as rising fuel prices
- Plans progress to develop Australia’s first offshore wind farms
As Australia’s energy crisis continues, plans are advancing for the country’s first offshore wind farms.
Associate Professor at the Institute for Sustainable Futures in Sydney, Sven Teske, said solar and wind power should be a priority.
“Offshore wind is a bit more expensive, but has the potential or opportunity to have more running hours.”
Dr Teske said renewable energy sources are cheap and independent of other markets.
“More than 85% of all new installed and grid-connected power plants globally were for solar and wind power,” he said.
“The reason the share is so high globally is that solar and wind are cheap.
“It’s also independent of market prices.
“That can’t happen with the wind, because as long as you don’t tax the wind, the costs of generating wind power are stable.”
Billions of investments for the coastal city
In the small town of Kingston in regional South Australia, plans are underway to build the state’s first offshore wind farm.
The project by SA Offshore Windfarm, an Australian subsidiary of Australia Energy, is expected to cost around $1.7 billion.
It would include up to 75 offshore wind turbines with the capacity to generate 600 megawatts of electricity – enough to power more than 400,000 homes.
It has been 12 months since the company filed its application for an impact assessment with the South African government.
Australis Energy said it will now move into phase 3 of the project, which included carrying out environmental studies and impact assessments, additional data collection, agreements with landowners and access agreements to the network.
Dr Teske said there are many things that make Australia ideal for developing an offshore wind industry.
“Australia has one of the best wind resources,” he said.
“We have over 10,000 kilometers of coastline.
“We have a very good infrastructure and we have a good knowledge of the offshore industry, offshore oil and gas exploration and production.”
Dr Teske said “the main obstacle is the legislation”.
“The barriers are no longer technical, as the offshore wind industry is a growing industry worldwide,” he said.
“There are many power plants, offshore wind power plants in Europe, Asia and North America.
“We can access this technology, so the technology is developed.
“Because it’s a new industry, there’s nothing there [in Australia] how did we set up a process to apply for a construction permit for an offshore wind farm if no one has done it before? »
Dr Teske said that despite the obstacles, plans are moving forward.
“In Australia, we already have 19 projects in various stages of planning and development,” he said.
“What we need now is good legislation.”
Investment equals city assets
Kingston District Council chief executive Nat Traeger said it was a huge investment for the small town.
“We have certainly focused our attention on the potential for opportunities for our community,” she said.
“$1.6 billion is actually the value of our entire communal area.
“It puts the scale of the investment into perspective.”
Ms Traeger said the council did not yet have an official position on the project, but was “thinking about the positive impacts this scale of economic activity could have”.
She said Kingston hopes to capitalize on the investment to improve its own assets.
“Erosion is one thing,” Ms. Traeger said.
“The state of the state government-owned pier is another. The closed boat launch in Kingston is obviously one, as well as the Cape Jaffa Marina itself.
“We have aging infrastructure on our coasts and climate change issues with coastal erosion.
“[And] we haven’t even touched on the tourism potential,” she said.