Taking the whales out of offshore wind

Offshore wind

Government agencies and project proponents need to work harder to bring local communities on the offshore wind journey, because there are some disingenuous actors doing their best to bring the industry undone.

Starting with fossil fuel enthusiast-in-chief, Donald Trump, who has promised to “drill baby, drill” if returned to the White House and has claimed that wind farms "are causing whales to die in numbers never seen before." 

I can't find any evidence linking whale deaths to offshore wind. Fishing nets, freighters, sea containers - maybe. Nothing on wind turbines. Yet, disinformation like this is gaining traction in communities that question the impact of offshore wind on fishing, tourism and the local skyline.

WA’s coastline is highly navigated and home to two of the world’s busiest industrial ports. Despite being awash with human noise, our coastal waters appear well navigated by a humpback population that has gone from near extinction in the 1970s to about 45,000 today. The bigger issues, long term, might be the impact of climate change on both the Leeuwin current that guides this navigation and the availability of traditional whale food sources.

To minimise the ecological footprint of the clean energy transition needed to combat climate change, we need to situate renewables where the resources are strongest. Which, for wind, means offshore. But, we can’t take the industry’s social license for granted. It is far easier to tear something down, than build something new.

This article also appeared in The West Australian newspaper


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