Updated Feb 2012
In 2011, the Victorian government of Ted Baillieu introduced the world’s most draconian restrictions on wind farm developments. These are likely to see an end to new wind farm developments in the state.
The NSW O’Farrell government brought in a similar set of guidelines at the end of 2011. Sadly, the South Australian opposition Liberals have indicated they will also introduce similar policies if elected.
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The Victorian government has announced their new planning laws which will lock wind developments out of most of the productive sites in the state.
The Victorian Coalition went to the 2010 election with policies designed to severely restrict wind farm placement. You can read more on this here and in the blog posts on this site (see category Victorian Coalition).
The Age newspaper pointed out that the Baillieu government could not stop the biggest expansion of wind energy in Victoria’s history, with 1,322 new turbines planned across 28 developments that have already received planning approval under the previous government.
Yet if wind companies do not start their project before the planning approval is due for renewal, they will have to re-apply under the new laws. As many projects have struggled to find finance to begin construction, this could potentially prevent their development altogether.
The policy is a blow to regional Victoria, which will have over $3 billion in investments locked out. In particular, there are a number of projects to set up community-owned wind farms which have been stopped in their tracks – disenfranchising communities such as the Surf Coast, Macedon Ranges and Mount Alexander shires.
At this point, wind energy is the single most effective way to start to reduce our greenhouse emissions here in Victoria. Why does the government want to kill off this jobs-rich, low emissions industry and all the economic benefits it brings to regional Victoria?
Please take action
Help us get posters, leaflets, and our campaign postcard out into the community. We can post you a bundle if you need them. If you are based in or around Melbourne, come in and have a chat! You can help us plan the next steps in the campaign and make them happen. Phone Ben Courtice on 9419 8700 (extension 10) or email to meet up.
At the minimum, you could phone or write/email to the Premier, Minister for Planning, and Minister for Climate Change, urging them to re-consider their policy on wind farms. You could also write to your local and state newspapers.
There is a draft letter below you may use, or you can write your own. We suggest you remind them that the Clean Energy Council (CEC) has indicated that up to $3.6 billion of wind farm investments will not go ahead under this policy. This will impact directly – and negatively – on regional Victoria. Explain that you support wind farms and renewables in general and you expect the government to act on these issues.
Remind them that climate science tells us that we only have this decade to turn global emissions around. We will not be able to do this if we stop the expansion of the wind farm sector.
The Hon. Ted BaillieuPremier of Victoria Level 1, 1 Treasury Place, Melbourne Phone (03) 9651 5000/Fax (03) 9651 5054 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Hon. Matthew Guy MLCMinister for Planning Level 7, 1 Spring Street, Melbourne Phone (03) 9938 5990/Fax (03) 9938 5949 <email@example.com>
The Hon. Ryan SmithMinister for Environment and Climate Change Level 17, 8 Nicholson Street, Melbourne Phone (03) 9637 8890/Fax (03) 9637 8880 Ryan.Smith@parliament.vic.gov.au
Please cc us a copy so we know how many letters have gone in: firstname.lastname@example.org
Draft letter to ministers
Wind farms provide clean energy, green jobs and income for rural communities. Your restrictions on the location of wind farms have blocked the development of the wind industry in Victoria.
You have given landholders veto rights over any turbines located up to 2km from their houses. And your large scale ‘no-go’ zones have excluded wind farms from some of the best wind resources in the State.
These new laws make it easier to dig a coal mine or build a freeway than start a wind farm. I call on you to drop all the new restrictions and secure the long term future of clean energy in Victoria.
While our campaign is primarily Victoria based, the NSW state government has also brought in restrictive new regulations. We encourage renewable energy supporters in NSW to make a submission by March 14 2012 – details, and some points to think about including are available here.
You can find more background on general NSW issues by going to that category on our blog.
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