Plan to build dozens of huge wind turbines across NSW that will be almost twice the size of the Harbour Bridge sparks outrage
- NSW Hunter declared suitable for offshore wind farms
- Locals fears tourism and coastline will be destroyed
Residents who call some of Australia’s most picturesque spots home fear a massive wind turbine offshore project will destroy their coastal communities forever.
The NSW Central Coast and Hunter regions north of Sydney are rallying together to fight the Anthony Albanese government’s proposed plans to build an offshore wind farm in its efforts to bring Australia towards net-zero emissions.
The Hunter Offshore Renewable Energy Area is proposed to cover more than 1,800 square kilometres between Swansea and Port Stephens.
It could generate up to 5GW of wind energy, enough to power an estimated 4.2m homes and power local industries.
The federal government recently declared the area as suitable for future offshore wind development, along with Victoria’s Gippsland region.
On the Central Coast, Noah Head residents fear the offshore wind farm will not only destroy their seaside town but also the wider region in the long term.
The NSW Central Coast and Hunter regions are up in arms about a proposed offshore wind farm. Pictured is an artist impression of what the turbines would look like from the coast
Fears for threats to ocean wildlife have also been raised.
‘The long-term suffering and the impacts are not being considered,’ Love Noah Head group spokesman Nick Anderson told Sky News host Chris Kenny.
‘Wrecking our beaches, wrecking our coastline, wrecking our wildlife and destroying our tourism, that’s not the solution.’
‘Australia and especially places like Port Stephens rely on that tourism.’
‘That’s why it’s beautiful, and that’s why we go there, because it is beautiful. It’s where we go to lose all the hard work we’ve put in during the week, we go there to relax and we become Australians again.
Noah Head locals successfully lobbied for the proposed zone to be reduced from 2810 square kilometres and be moved further away from the coast during the government’s community consultation process.
But it means the offshore wind farm will be just 20km off the coast of Port Stephens.
‘They have got to get together, and they’ve got to in numbers object, and they’ve got to go in there with good objective reasons as to why it’s not viable,’ Mr Anderson said.
‘If they’re in there in numbers, the government can’t ignore them.’
The federal government announced in July that the NSW Hunter region has been declared as suitable for future offshore wind development. Pictured in green is the proposed zone
Locals say the wind turbines will wrecking their coastline and destroy tourism, along with wildlife
The turbines will soar 260 metres into the sky; double the height of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
‘If you’re looking out on an industrial complex of wind turbines, you’re not going to enjoy yourself,’ Mr Anderson said.
‘They’ve been moved off the Central Coast because of what we did, so they’re now 57km from Noah Head.’
‘But we will still see them. Port Stephens is only 20km away so they will see then very clearly.’
Several other offshore wind farms have been proposed for Bass Strait, the NSW Illawarra region and Bunbury in Western Australia.
The NSW Hunter project announced in July is currently in the feasibility stage, where interested developers have until November to submit feasibility licence applications for proposed offshore wind projects.
Construction can begin once the feasibility stage is complete and environmental and management plan approvals are in place.
The project is expected to create up to 3,120 construction jobs and another 1,560 ongoing operational jobs in the Hunter region.
‘The Hunter is undergoing significant economic change, and the prospect of creating new job opportunities for decades to come through a new offshore wind industry is a game changer,’ climate change minister Chris Bowen said.
Noah Head residents successfully lobbied for the turbines to be moved further afield