Australia’s role in the fight against climate change has been mixed up in recent years. The country’s prosperity is based to a not inconsiderable extent on the export of mineral resources. This also traditionally includes coal mined in the country. In order not to endanger this source of income, the country turned against ambitious climate protection goals at the international level. The Australian government played a rather inglorious role at the world climate conference in Madrid in 2019. In fact, Australia seems to have recognized the signs of the times in the meantime. For some years now, the state has been consistently expanding the share of renewable energies in the electricity mix. So far, this boom has mainly been driven by solar systems and wind turbines on land. Now there is another aspect to be considered: For the first time, offshore wind turbines are also to be built.
It is an Australian-Spanish project
Parliament laid the legal basis for this this year with the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Bill 2021. The projects are also to be implemented with the help of international expertise. The local energy company Energy Estate is cooperating with the Spanish company Blue Float Energy. In addition, two of the planned wind farms off the coast of the state of New South Wales will not be anchored in the ground. So they are so-called floating wind turbines. These have the advantage that they can also be installed in deeper waters. In addition, the burden on the local ecosystem is lower and the systems can be dismantled more easily at a later date. A double hope is associated with the construction of the two wind farms: On the one hand, they should enable coal-fired power plants to be switched off. On the other hand, they should also ensure that the local industry can continue to be supplied with inexpensive electricity.
Renewable energies reduce dependence on coal
The same goals are to be achieved with the planned, permanently installed wind farm in front of the state of Victoria. All in all, the projects will increase output from offshore wind farms in Australia from zero to 4.3 gigawatts. It is therefore a very significant contribution to the energy transition. If the projects are also successful, further offshore wind farms are likely to follow soon. Australia is therefore still well on the way to at least making its electricity supply fully sustainable by the beginning of the 2030s. Even more: The prerequisites for the production of renewable energies are so good in Australia that the country has already opened up export markets here as well. A gigantic long submarine cable will carry Australian solar power to Singapore. In the medium term, this should also significantly reduce the economic dependence on coal.