Surfers love an offshore wind - this one is a little different, but can be something special too.

Surfers are deeply connected to the ocean. Collectively, we have spent thousands of hours immersed in the ocean and dancing on its waves. We get our thrills, our mental clarity, and our connection with nature from the ocean - that’s why we want to do everything we can to protect it.

If you look offshore, there is a legacy oil and gas industry operating that has been polluting our ocean, harming marine life by using seismic blasting, and increasing our carbon pollution with harms that will hurt the ocean for generations. Today, we have the opportunity to create a new legacy for our ocean, which is about looking to the future, embracing new opportunities to keep it clean and protect it from climate change.

We can responsibly harness the power and energy of our wind and waves to provide clean renewable energy and leave a clean legacy for generations of surfers to come. Wind is a natural strength of coastal regions and we can use it to protect these regions from oil and gas seismic blasting whilst also creating hundreds of high-paying careers in these regions.

Surfers for Climate supports responsible offshore wind when it puts nature first.

What do we mean by ‘responsible’ offshore wind?

Responsible offshore wind takes community and nature into consideration at every step of the process. This begins years before a project is built and plans for the eventual decommissioning of the turbines so the ocean remains clean and full of life. We want future surfers to see dolphins, whales, seabirds and more, forever.

Responsible offshore wind is designed so that minimal impact on our precious eco-systems occurs and maximum community benefit is achieved. Responsible offshore wind can even improve some ecosystems through creating more coral reefs.

Responsible offshore wind has support and endorsement from First Nations communities, the True Locals, because the energy of the future needs to truly benefit the custodians of land and sea country.

Responsible offshore wind is energy done better, so that communities and nature benefit directly, while we keep the lights on. Responsible offshore wind does not affect surfers’ waves.

We back the many ways that we can work with the ocean to help save it - from seaweed farming to strengthening marine park legislation - and that's why we also back the opportunity for responsible offshore wind to add to the pathway toward a cleaner future where our ocean is thriving into the future. Surfers for Climate will continue to represent coastal communities, find the facts and face the challenges involved in clean energy, unapologetically communicating the real concerns of communities regarding potential impacts on marine life, while supporting science and reason as we find solutions that ultimately protect our ocean from the worst impacts of climate change and provides prosperity and sustainability to coastal communities. There is a real threat of misinformation and disinformation dividing our communities and Surfers for Climate wants to provide shared facts to all.

How will Surfers for Climate Advocate for Responsible Offshore Wind?

We will take the voice of surfers directly to the companies building these projects and the governments who regulate them. We know that we need honest, strong research on the ecological impacts, and solid plans that protect our oceans. We have surveyed our members and worked with experts in Australia’s energy market, renewables and marine science to come to the position of supporting responsible offshore wind done well, because it provides:

1. Huge amounts of clean and reliable renewable energy

Responsible offshore wind provides a sustainable and high impact alternative to taking oil and gas from our ocean floors. With one offshore wind zone we can produce almost the same amount of power as two Eraring coal-fired power plants (that's Australia’s largest coal fired power plant).

2. Energy Security and Diversification

Investing in responsible offshore wind enhances Australia's energy security by producing huge amounts of energy overnight, when solar and some other renewables do not produce large volumes of energy. By tapping into our vast offshore wind potential, Australia can strengthen its resilience to supply chain disruptions, price volatility, and geopolitical uncertainties associated with onshore and traditional energy sources. We know that in order to switch to 100% renewables we need to find a clean energy source that provides large-scale and dispatchable power to cover what we need when the sun doesn’t shine. Responsible offshore wind is extremely powerful due to the lack of land mass interrupting its flow. We surfers know the massive power of the strong and consistent offshore winds that we have in some areas that can either blow out surf conditions or gift us massive swells. This energy can be harnessed for good.

3. Meeting Climate and Energy Targets

We know the biggest threat to the ocean is climate change. Supporting responsible offshore wind helps reduce carbon pollution and keeps our oceans clean. By scaling up responsible offshore wind capacity, Australia can accelerate the shift to a low-carbon economy, achieve emissions reductions, and contribute to global efforts to limit temperature rise and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

4. Responsible Environmental Protection (when done well)

All offshore wind projects in Australia require environmental approvals, assessments and action to eliminate or reduce effects on our sea life and wildlife. Surfers for Climate strongly believes local knowledge must be sought and harnessed during these processes because locals often know things others don’t. We’ve looked at the studies and we’ve asked our community and other environmental groups what they think. The peer-reviewed and published studies say there is no evidence that offshore wind infrastructure or floating offshore wind infrastructure harms whales or marine mammals.

Not a single peer-reviewed study has found that offshore wind farms kill whales.

Additionally, responsible offshore wind farms can coexist with other ocean activities, such as fishing and shipping, while providing opportunities for marine conservation and habitat restoration. Surfers for Climate believes in a responsible approach to offshore wind, where we protect the direct environment around an Offshore Renewable Energy Zone and the wider environment at the same time. (Note: offshore wind turbines are typically a kilometre or more apart, and coral reefs often grow on the concrete footings.)

Under Australia’s current legislation there is a risk of a stilted approach to addressing the impacts on the marine and avian environment in Offshore Renewable Energy Zones. This is because Australia has not effectively invested in marine research in the past, and the environmental protection legislation that offshore development is bound to largely protects endangered and protected species only. Everything we do in the ocean has some impact, and offshore wind is no exception. So it’s important that offshore wind is developed in the right places, has effective data on the potential impacts of marine and avian environment and has strong mitigation and monitoring methods in place.

That's why Surfers for Climate is advocating for the Federal government to include an independent environmental assessment process in Offshore Renewable Energy Zones. This would ensure there is a thorough assessment of the existing marine life, including dolphins, whales down to the smallest seaweed, in the areas where an offshore wind zone may be declared. This means offshore wind companies can better plan for mitigation and monitoring of impacts on marine and avian species and would be held accountable to a solid baseline of data.

5. Technological Innovation and Cost Competitiveness

Advances in offshore wind technology continue to make it increasingly efficient and cheaper. With improved designs, and economies of scale, responsible offshore wind projects offer reliable, affordable electricity generation while driving down costs over time.

6. Job Creation, Economic and Community Benefits

The development of offshore wind projects creates local jobs across various sectors, from construction and manufacturing to operations and maintenance. This both stimulates local economies and also fosters skills development and long-term employment prospects, particularly in regions with abundant wind resources and ports. This means jobs for local trades, including those working in gas, oil and coal, and more production for local manufacturing and other services that support the industry. Moreover, offshore wind projects should ask local communities and indigenous groups to share their vital local knowledge to ensure mutual benefits, cultural respect, and meaningful participation in decision-making processes. Consent is something you ask for, not something you assume or demand.

Responsible Offshore Wind Will Help Keep Our Ocean Clean

As surfers, we all know that an offshore wind is the one we want the most. With global warming as a very real threat to our coastal way of life and pristine ocean, responsible offshore wind is part of the energy mix we need if we are on the party wave of action on climate.

Surfers for Climate recognises that there are different opinions in coastal communities about offshore wind. We promise to take the high-line as we ride this wave with coastal communities, ensuring that facts, science and reason drive the dialogue.

We are all on this party wave of climate action together and we are here to ensure that coastal communities ride this groundswell of renewable energy opportunity.
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