Wind power rules mystify Danes

Ditlev Engel, chief executive of Danish company Vestas, said he had ”no idea” where the policy had come from. Mr Engel, who is visiting Victoria with Crown Prince Frederik and Tasmanian-born Crown Princess Mary, said no one had explained the motivation for Victoria’s most restrictive regulations on wind farm.

”I was asked the other day in Canberra where does that number come from, and I said I have no idea,” he said. ”Who found out that two kilometres was the magic number?

”In Denmark, when you have a wind turbine, in order to get approval, you need to be four times the height of the tip (away from a house). The tip height is 150-200 metres, so the distance from the turbine to where people live has got to be 600-800 metres. And that’s fine.

The government has said the two-kilometre buffer zone had been long-standing Coalition policy based on studies of planning schemes overseas.

Anti wind farm group the Landscape Guardians has long advocated at least a two-kilometre buffer, claiming wind turbines cause illness. But the government denies its decision was driven by health concerns.

The wind power industry has warned that the regulations, including turbine ”no-go” zones, would lead it to invest elsewhere, costing Victoria up to $3 billion.

Mr Engel backed opening wind farms to the public to dispel myths about wind power. Denmark generates a quarter of its energy from wind power. Vestas had turbine blade manufacturing plants in Victoria and Tasmania, but they closed in 2007 over policy uncertainty.