July 2012: New Windfarm Development Applications Stall
The VC82 planning law amendments introduced by the Coalition government last August has resulted in no new windfarm development applications being submitted for nearly 12 months. Read The Weekly Times report on the consequences of the onerous windfarm planning laws here.
June 2012: The Coalition and renewable energy
The Victorian Coalition introduced planning law amendment VC82 in August 2011. The key points, which make it very difficult to develop new wind farms in the state, are as follows:
- 2km setback from turbines: developers must get written permission from every resident within 2km of a planned turbine.
- “no-go” zones where turbines are banned completely in: Macedon Ranges shire and the McHarg ranges (half of Mount Alexander shire); Great Ocean Rd area within 5km of the coast; Bellarine and Mornington Peninsulas; Bass Coast and South Gippsland coast within 5km of the coast; and the Yarra Ranges shire.
- Exclusion zones within 5km of designated regional towns
The following map, from the Shadow Minister for Planning, Brian Tee, illustrates how much of the state these three laws cut out (national parks and RAMSAR wetlands were already excluded).
For ongoing updates on the Victorian coalition, visit the “Victorian Coalition” category of blog postings. In particular, check our updated summary of the economic costs of the anti-wind policy (planning law amendment VC82) that was passed in 2011 and our initial response to VC82 when it was passed.
Some earlier information is below.
May 2011: Minister approves Chepstowe wind farm near Ballarat.
March 23: Baillieu government lacks transparency on wind energy
The government has refused an opportunity for broader stakeholder input into their controversial new wind farm laws. The new laws, debated in Parliament today, give local councils full control over any future wind farm developments. Release available here.
March 11: Coalition’s 2km wind farm veto sets a risky precedent
The Coalition’s proposed right of veto for residents within 2 km of planned wind farms highlights worrying double standards on development.
March 2011: community statement on the Coalition’s wind energy policy. A range of groups who signed this letter represent more than one hundred thousand Victorians and include community groups, faith based groups, unions, academics and industry representatives.
March 2011: Government fires first shot in war against wind farms. New planning guidelines put forward. Our response here.
Feb 2011: Liberal MP Denis Napthine says the new setback already applies to all new wind farm planning permits. Article available here.
Dec 8: Will the Coalition implement it’s wind farm policy? Available here.
Nov 29: Check here for our quick post election assessment of what a Coalition victory will mean for renewable energy.
In October 2010, the Coalition finally started to show how they would relate to renewable energy. Their earlier single intervention into this realm, when they announced their policy on wind farms – was a worrying intervention. See below for our press release on this announcement.
In responding to the scorecard put together by 4 key environmental organisations – Environment Victoria, Friends of the Earth, the National Parks Association and the Wilderness Society – the Coalition indicated that it would support the following measures:
• The Coalition will review the subsidies for fossil fuels and energy use by June 2011 and encourage the re‐balancing of Victoria’s electricity generation portfolio to assist with meeting our accepted emission reduction target of 20% on 2000 levels by 2020.
• (The Coalition will create a) $1 billion Regional Growth Fund which has an aim to create jobs, improve career opportunities, including green jobs, in regional Victoria.
• The Victorian Government should develop strong medium term greenhouse gas emission reduction targets [potentially this will drive further investment in renewables]
It has, as yet, not detailed its approach to a range of relevant issues outlined by the green groups mentioned above in their election scorecard, including:
• Set a target for 40 percent of Victoria’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020 as part of a State renewable energy strategy.
• support community investment in renewable energy through the introduction of a gross feed‐in tariff for small scale renewable energy including solar and micro wind.
• Support coal‐dependent communities to transition to sustainable industries by bringing on‐line clean energy projects in coal regions and developing new jobs and industries.
See here for the full party assessment in the election scorecard.
Coalition Wind Farm policy a worrying entry to environment debate
After waiting many months for the release of Coalition policies on the environment, Ted Baillieu’s first foray into the realm of environment does not bode well for the Party in the build up to the state election.
“This is the first climate or renewable energy policy we’ve had from the Coalition in the run-up to the November election, and so has been met with considerable anticipation by the environment movement. Yet it seems designed to prevent investment in renewable energy”, said Friends of the Earth campaigns co-ordinator Cam Walker.
“Choosing to launch a policy on renewable energy when he has not consulted the renewable energy industry and which seems to be a wish list from the Landscape Guardians is nothing less than bizarre.”
“Everyone agrees that there have been a range of problems with the roll out of renewable energy, especially wind energy, in the state. In its Green Jobs package (‘Jobs for the
Future Economy’) released late last month, the State government has sought to clarify planning processes for this type of development in order to remove these problems. This plan proposes a ‘green door’ program to facilitate renewable energy projects but only if developers commit to applying good practice consultation principles with local communities. These are clearly spelt out in the package”.
“The government’s Green Jobs package sets out the type of approach that we will need if we want to drive innovation in renewables. What Mr Baillieu is proposing is policy that is backward looking and destructive to investment in renewables and the creation of many new green jobs across the state – especially in rural Victoria”.
“We hope that his next environment announcement is more constructive and more aligned with the wishes of the broader community. Most people want to see a massive expansion of the renewable energy industry in Victoria. Mr Baillieu’s ‘no go’ zones for wind farms cover large areas of the state most suited to wind farms. We need decisions for new farms to be based on sound policy, not simply on the concerns of vested interest groups”.
Further comment: Cam Walker 0419 338 047