CONSULTATION has begun for a proposed offshore wind zone in Bass Strait off Tasmania.

The federal government is working with the Tasmanian government to develop the proposal.

According to a statement from the state government, the zone open for consultation can generate 30 gigawatts of electricity and will be critical to Tasmania’s ambition to get to 200% renewables and help support long-term energy security for local heavy industry in Tasmania.

The Commonwealth Government is seeking feedback on the proposed zone, which is least 20 kilometres from shore at its closest point, and 11,159 square kilometres.

Submissions to the consultation can be made any time from today until 31 January and the consultation will include six community drop-in sessions along the north coast of Tasmania from Wynyard to Bridport, and Whitemark on Flinders Island in December.

Federal minister for climate change and energy Chris Bowen said the consultation would provide a genuine opportunity for communities to have their say in the first part of the process for developing an offshore wind industry in Tasmania.

“The Bass Strait is renowned for its offshore wind resource – and this potential zone could transform Tasmania into a new clean energy powerhouse, spurring investment in Tasmanian communities, providing energy security for decarbonising heavy industry and creating thousands of jobs,” Mr Bowen said.

“This consultation period is vital for communities, industry and businesses to have their say on an offshore wind zone in Bass Strait from its earliest stages, and we encourage everyone to put a submission in or attend a community consultation.”

Tasmanian minister for energy and renewables Nick Duigan said: “We are proud of our 100 years of hydro development which has made us a leader in the use of clean and sustainable renewable energy, and we believe offshore wind will enable us to take that legacy to the next level.”