The way we generate energy is changing and it is clear Gippsland needs a well-planned and managed transition to ensure a bright future for the region’s economy, communities, and landscapes.
The recent Gippsland New Energy Forum, convened online by the Committee for Gippsland and the Gippsland Climate Change Network, had over one hundred participants keen to be part of insight and discussion relating to the state of play for Gippsland’s new energy sector and what it means for regional communities, employment, and development.
According to Jane Oakley, Committee for Gippsland CEO, the impetus for the forum came from the shared goal of showcasing developments that already exist and the potential for further transition and growth towards establishing Gippsland as a clean energy hub.
“The new energy sector is rapidly developing, and Gippsland is strategically placed to take a lead role; the region has the right mix of skills, infrastructure, resourcing, innovation and supply-chain expertise to make it a logical and sound investment for the Victoria’s energy future.”
Jane added, “It’s an exciting and pivotal time for business and industry in the region, and for this reason we thought it important to provide a forum to help build awareness and confidence around what’s already in the pipeline and discuss the future growth of energy production in Gippsland.”
Emceed by Scott Ferraro, a Board member of the Energy Efficiency Council and program director for Monash University’s Net Zero Initiative, the webinar’s format featured guest speakers from three front-runners in the region’s new energy sector. J-Power Latrobe Valley’s director Jeremy Stone provided insight into Gippsland’s new Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain Project at Morwell; Star of the South’s chief development officer Erin Coldham showcased Australia’s first offshore wind farm project to be located off the south east coast of Gippsland; and, Solaris RE’s executive director King Arthur outlined the development of the Gippsland Renewable Energy Park planned for the Wellington local government area.
Common threads through each speaker’s session were the social, economic and environmental benefits of clean energy production; job creation and regional development; and, Gippsland’s suitability to transition and build on its status as the state’s energy power-house.
Chair of Gippsland Climate Change Network Darren McCubbin said that “if Gippsland wants new renewable capability and jobs in the new economy, we have to put our hand up and fight for it. This is an important conversation to be having to ensure we get the developments that meet our needs as well as the expectations from our community”.
A clear message from many who participated in the forum was that it is important for awareness raising, discussion and investigation of all energy production options available to Gippsland to continue.
“With this expression of interest, the Committee for Gippsland intends to facilitate further clean energy forums in the new year, showcasing the region’s full potential,” confirmed Jane Oakley.