community statement on the Coalition’s wind energy policy

March 4, 2011

In recent years, Victoria has seen substantial growth in jobs and investment in the wind energy industry, with the benefits being shared across many parts of the state.

Wind farms are a proven, economically viable way to generate clean renewable energy, and will help Victoria end its reliance on polluting coal-fired electricity.

However, the state government’s current wind farm policy threatens the future of wind energy in Victoria.

The policy requires new wind turbines to be at least 2 kilometres from any dwelling, and bans wind farms from tourist areas and growth corridors, some of which have the best wind resource in the state.

In effect, this policy makes it harder to put up a wind turbine in Victoria than to dig a coal mine.

A survey of wind companies commissioned last year by the Clean Energy Council found that between 50 and 70 per cent of proposed wind farms would be abandoned if the Coalition pursued this policy.

Wind remains the cheapest form of renewable energy we can roll out to begin to reduce our greenhouse pollution.

We call on the Government to reconsider its current wind farm policy, with a view to replacing it with one based on good planning policy and science rather than arbitrary exclusion zones.

The groups who have signed this letter represent more than one hundred thousand Victorians and include community groups, faith based groups,  unions, academics and industry representatives.


Andrew Bray, Ballarat Renewable Energy And Zero Emissions

Dr. Barrie Pittock, PSM, Climate scientist and author of ‘Climate Change: The Science, Impacts and Solutions’

Bronwen Machin, Secretary, Mount Alexander Sustainability Group

Cam Walker, Campaigns Co-ordinator, Friends of the Earth

Caroline Hawkins, President, Surf Coast Energy Group

Carolyn Invargson, Convenor, Lighter Footprints

Cath James, Justice and International Mission Unit, Uniting Church Victoria and Tasmania

Chris McKiernan, Director, Red Star Coffee

Dan Cass, Dan Cass Consulting

Dan Hansen, Managing Director, Suzlon Energy Australia Pty Ltd

David Robinson, Convenor, Locals Into Victoria’s Environment

David Tonkin, Warrandyte Climate Action Now

Dean Mighell, Victorian Branch Secretary, Electrical Trades Union

Hayley Giachin, Yaubula Foundation

Ian Porter, Chief Executive Officer, Alternative Technology Association

Janet Rice, Victorian Greens

Professor Jim Falk, Climate Change Research Director, Association of
Pacific Rim Universities World Institute, Professorial Fellow, Melbourne
School of Land and Environment, University of Melbourne

John Harvey, Executive Officer, Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance

Kelly O’Shanassy, Chief Executive Officer, Environment Victoria

Lauriston Muirhead, Wodonga Albury Towards Climate Health

Lee Fuller, Convenor, Emerald for Sustainability

Mary Crooks, Executive Director, Victorian Women’s Trust – Watermark
Australia Project

Mary Dougherty, Director, Embark

Matthew Wright, Executive Director Beyond Zero Emissions

Merryn Redenbach, Co-convenor, Climate Action Moreland

Monique Decortis, The Victorian Climate Action Calendar

Nicole Morris, Director, Colonial Leisure Group

Pablo Brait, Convenor, Yarra Climate Action Now

Paul Murfitt, Chief Executive Officer, Moreland Energy Foundation Limited

Penelope Milstein, Convenor, Sustainability in Stonnington

Peter Cook, Dandenong Ranges Renewable Energy Association

Richard Keech, Convenor, Moonee Valley Climate Action

Robyn Erwin, Chelsea Heights EarthCarers

Rosanne Michie, Communications Director, Clean Energy Council

Russell Pearse, Chairman, Ararat Greenhouse Action Group Inc.

Simon Kerrison, Developer, RES Australia Pty Ltd

Simon Holmes à Court, Chairman, Hepburn Wind

Steve Dargavel, Victorian State Secretary, Australian Manufacturing
Workers Union

Steve Meacher, Healesville Environment Watch Inc

Tobias Geiger, Managing Director, WestWind Energy Pty Ltd

To add your groups name to this list please email

7 thoughts on “community statement on the Coalition’s wind energy policy

  1. At the end of the nineteenth century folk complained about the noise of the horse-less carriage. Cars were developed AND there was a culture change to community acceptance. Wind generation needs a culture change, and it will happen faster among the people than among politicians. When I pass an array of wind turbines they fill me with confidence that we can begin to wean ourselves off coal as the primary source of electricity.

  2. Wind farms maybe “green energy” themsleves , but not being a baseload power scource don’t accually cut (and in some instances can increase ) greenhouse pollution. So what we end up with as a best case scenario is very expensive green energy which we don’t need but we will all be paying for.

  3. Winston, I’ve heard this a few times, and it sounds half right to the uninformed, but fortunately your comments are not supported by facts. Here are some pointers to set you in the right direction. A very significant amount of our power comes from shoulder and peak sources. These are not baseload and are constantly adjusting to supply and demand. The variability in demand is an order of magnitude greater than the variability of wind energy. Australia has an advanced wind prediction system in place that is used by the market to plan well ahead for any variability.
    Add all these and doubts should form about your statements. Talk to energy industry participants and the AEMO and you’ll be assured that your argument is bogus.

  4. Thanks Simon .
    It seems claims of a “capacity credit” of 10-16% are quite common .
    Green energy is very important to our future and i applaud your efforts on “solar-hybrid systems”. However Wind Farms may be better suited to “remote cattle stations in the Northern Territory” than some of the small country towns and rural areas they are currently being “planted” in. Hence to 2km exclusion zone from dwellings. The Senate inquiry to be handed down on April 30 may help resolve some of these issues .
    If only wind energy could be viable without its negitive enviromental impact and without huge Government subsidies .
    How about we ( as taxpayers) rather than spend all this money on subsidies , poured this into Research into green/future sources of energy. As you would be aware , research is often underfunded but the returns can be huge .

    Look forward to your thoughts

  5. Winston. I’m not sure what you mean by capacity credit. I’m not sure you know what you mean by it. You are mistaken about the placement of wind farms — large scale renewable energy sources are much better suited on the grid than in remote areas. What negative environmental impacts are you referring to? What huge government subsidies are you talking about?
    I’m confused about most of your statements, but generally agree with you that more investment in renewables is warranted.

  6. Simon. Capacity credit is calculated by determining the reductions of installed power needed , taking into account of the new system . ie. to offset a average coal power station of 1500MW you would need 750 2MW turbines X 16% capacity credit = 4,600+ turbines , although with such an increase in wind/solar power , the capacity credit rate drops significantly.
    Location wise , Yes , any energy source if better off closer to the “grid” where it is consummed . The problem (with wind farms) being the impact they are having on these small rural communities. Have a look for yourself at sites like and , and you will see that those living near wind farms aren’t the happy bunch they used to be .
    Negative environmental impacts:Visual polution , noise polution , health problem ( see Waubra Foundation) , bird/bat deaths , clearing forests and productive farmland for roads to turbine sites , hundreds of tons of concrete and steel, oil leeks , fires..i could go on , but you get the idea.
    Subsidies: national average price of electricty 2010 was under $0.04 per KWh. Are you saying thats all wind turbine companys get ?? what about recs etc.

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