Victoria (Australia) provides certainty for wind energy

Premier John Brumby and Environment and Climate Change Minister Gavin Jennings today met with representatives from the wind energy industry to discuss the future of wind farms in Victoria and reaffirm the Government’s support of the renewable energy sector.

Mr Brumby said wind power was one of the most cost effective forms of renewable energy and played an important role in reducing our level of greenhouse gas emissions.

“Our Government is working closely with the renewable energy industry and local communities to deliver economic and environmental benefits for all Victorians,” Mr Brumby said.

“Victoria is moving to a low carbon and greener economy and was the first state to establish a renewable energy target.

“To support this, the Government recently announced our $175 million Jobs for the Future Economy: Victoria’s Action Plan for Green Jobs which supports renewable energy investment and the development of green industries.

“Our Government is taking action to ensure Victoria’s economic and environmental development for the long term and providing certainty for the wind farm industry was an integral part of this development.

Mr Brumby and Mr Jennings outlined the Government’s support of wind farms and said that the Government’s policy provided for new wind farm projects to be approved and operated within clear guidelines developed in consultation with the industry. They also said the Victorian Government supports sensible and sustainable development and has strong planning policies in place to balance the community views with the need for building cleaner energy sources.

Mr Jennings said the Victorian Government’s support of the wind farm industry was in stark contrast to the Opposition who have announced a policy that would threaten the future of the wind farm industry.

“Mr Baillieu’s wind farm policy removes any investment certainty for the industry and would mean less wind farms and less renewable energy in Victoria,” Mr Jennings said.

“Mr Baillieu’s new wind farm policy threatens up to $4 billion of investment in Victoria and hundreds of jobs.

“Under the opposition’s plan to put a 2 km setback for wind turbines many of our existing wind farms couldn’t exist. For example, the industry would have not have been able to install a single one of their turbines in Codrington, Yambuk, Cape Bridgewater or Cape Nelson South.”

Mr Jennings said the Opposition’s wind farm policy had been widely criticised by Victoria’s renewable energy sector which says the policy would cause them to move their developments to other states.

“Victoria could not afford a poorly thought-out policy that puts at risk the health of the environment as well as the health of our economy,” Mr Brumby said.

“At risk would be up to $4 billion investment in Victoria and potential greenhouse gas savings of up to 4.2 million tonnes per annum.

“The renewable energy sector has already signalled that Mr Baillieu’s policy would risk stalling investments in Victoria as companies move their developments to other states.

“Renewable energy companies have said that Mr Baillieu’s announcement puts at risk billions of dollars of investment in wind farms and thousands of jobs and furthermore the industry wasn’t even consulted by Mr Baillieu before the announcement.

“Every megawatt hour of wind energy cuts about one tonne of greenhouse gas emissions. Apart from bringing in vital investment to our state, the benefits of wind farms are significant for our environment.

“Mr Baillieu’s policy would mean Victoria misses out on its economic and environmental opportunities.

“The Opposition’s disappointing wind farm policy is the latest in a string of anti-renewable energy moves, voting down the renewable energy target in 2006.”