The Wollongong arm of a national youth climate movement is calling on young people in the Illawarra to make submissions in favour of the proposed offshore wind zone, but not all young people in Wollongong are convinced.
Members of the Tomorrow Movement gathered on Flagstaff Hill on Friday to voice their support for the proposed offshore wind zone and community organiser Alex Sherley said the proposed offshore wind zone aligned with the organisation's push for clean jobs in a just transition to net zero.
"I see offshore wind as a great opportunity for the Illawarra, good jobs, new industries and to be part of the clean energy transition," he said.
Mr Sherley said the organisation was keen to see further environmental protections incorporated in the proposal as it moved through the approvals stages, as well as consultation with First Nations communities and community benefit schemes.
While opponents of the offshore wind zone have cited a lack of detail and engagement as criticisms of the proposal, Mr Sherley said this was just the first step in a multi-stage process.
"We are currently at the zoning stage of this development and it has been made clear that more investigations and consultation will come in further stages of the development."
Elsewhere in Wollongong, other young people had mixed takes on the idea.
UOW exercise science student Brodey Jelliffe of Kiama said he didn't know much about the proposal, but didn't see a problem with it in principle.
"It's fine by me if it happens."
Maths and chemistry student Kylie Taylor said she had received a flyer opposing the wind farm proposal due to aesthetic and environmental reasons, but was sceptical whether the proposal would eventuate.
"I'm so used to seeing these proposals and then nothing comes from them anyway," the Keiraville resident said.
Wollongong student Angus Lang said he was all for renewable energy but wasn't sure whether the cost of offshore wind made it the most viable alternative to carbon-based electricity generation.
"Is it worth all the money to put it in?"
Mr Sherley said with his generation facing a combined cost of living, housing and environmental crisis now and into the future, he was confident that moving towards a decarbonised society was an opportunity to address these linked concerns.
"We have already seen devastating impacts to our oceans from climate change, and with every development we need to balance the positive and negatives," he said.
"This proposal provides an alternative to our current reliance on coal."
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