After four years Victoria's experiment with shutting down wind farms has come to an end, mostly.
Premier Daniel Andrews today announced that the 2km veto right for landholders living next to wind farms would be reduced to 1km and planning approvals for new projects have been restored to the Planning Minister. We're disappointed that a range of no-go zones have been left in place but overall, this gets Victoria back in the wind energy game.
Congratulations to all those people who kept up the pressure on this issue over a very long haul. We won!
(Ararat Mayor, Paul Hooper and Challicum Hills Wind Farm Site Manager Shaun Blackie. With Premier Andrews, Energy Minister D'Ambrosio and Planning Minister Wynne)
Here's our media release.
Wind energy back on track in Victoria, but more is needed to secure future in Australia
The Australian Wind Alliance supports the announcement from the Victorian Premier to wind back the worst parts of the wind farm planning laws brought in under the last government.
Andrew Bray, Australian Wind Alliance National Coordinator, said this announcement shows a clear move towards renewable energy in Victoria, but that more needs to be done at a national level to sustain the industry nationally.
"Victoria has been missing out on jobs and regional investment from wind farms for too long and this is the first step towards fixing the problem.
“The previous laws strangled the pipeline of new wind farm investment in Victoria, allowing residents up to 2km away to veto turbines. The fact that a CSG well could be drilled within 500m of a home, yet a wind turbine had a buffer of 2 kilometres never made any sense.
"Giving planning approval powers for new wind farms back to the Minister recognises the state significance of these large scale renewable developments and relieves pressure on under resourced local councils.
“When the Baillieu/Napthine Government came to power, over 1000 turbines had planning approval. Because of these restrictions, under the last term of government the number of new turbines approved didn't even reach double figures.
"The Opposition have appointed a shadow minister for renewables, David Southwick, so we hope this signals a rethink from the Coalition and a willingness to get behind renewable energy development in Victoria.
"There is no value for governments of any persuasion to be blocking the development of renewable energy when its so popular with the electorate.
“We support the new Andrews’ Government softening these restrictions. It shows his Government is ready to take renewables energy seriously, but without federal government support the renewables sector is still under pressure.
“The uncertainty surrounding the Renewable Energy Target has flattened the renewable energy sector. Investment is at an all-time low, small businesses are being hit and jobs are being lost around the country.
“Advances from state governments such as the one we saw from Mr Andrews today, are being overshadowed by the inaction of an unsupportive federal government.
“We call on the federal government to stop it’s destructive agenda on the renewables sector, and follow the leadership of the Victorian government to promote investment to the industry,” said Mr Bray.