Jun 11, 2024 | Latest News, News

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Energy security is a matter of national security, according to Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester.

“Every country needs to be able to keep the lights on and ensure it can still manufacture products that are needed in a modern society,” Mr Chester said.

“How we do it in the future is the big question, and I expect it will be from a mix of sources as part of a balanced approach; we certainly shouldn’t be putting all our eggs in one basket.

“Our coal-fired power stations in the Latrobe Valley are still generating 60% of Victoria’s energy needs, and natural gas is a critical part of the equation because it can be brought online quickly when the weather conditions are unsuitable for renewables.

“Our energy supplies need to be reliable and affordable, as well as reducing the environmental impact on the planet. It’s a complex issue for every nation.

“Understanding how it could work in the future means listening to the ideas of experts, so I was interested to attend a briefing in Federal Parliament last week.”

Specialist offshore wind energy developer Southerly Ten, the team behind the offshore wind project Star of the South, addressed MPs, local government leaders, and indigenous leaders at Parliament House last week.

Mr Chester joined Wellington Shire Council Mayor Ian Bye and Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLaWAC) Chief Executive Officer Daniel Miller at the offshore wind briefing.

Southerly Ten CEO Charles Rattray and Chief Development Officer Dr Erin Coldham outlined the next steps for Australia’s inaugural offshore wind precinct and potential opportunities offshore wind presents to advance economic, energy, and environmental goals before social researcher Dr Rebecca Huntley led discussions with special guests from Gippsland and Hunter regions.

“These projects have the potential to be part of the nation’s energy mix and create local jobs through construction, development, and ongoing operational requirements,” Mr Chester said.

“As we look to diversify our energy base with offshore wind, we must ensure the legislation also protects existing users like commercial and recreational fishing, respects local landholders, and allows projects to proceed if they are in the national interest.”

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