Wind farms a boon to local regions says Ballarat group

The following comes from the Ballarat Courier. You may wish to add a comment at the end of the article.
Wind farms a boon: BREAZE

Journalist: PAT NOLAN
15 Feb, 2011
A BALLARAT environment group is calling for greater growth of the wind farm industry in the Ballarat region.

Ballarat Renewable Energy And Zero Emissions (BREAZE) has made a submission to a Senate inquiry, in which it claims Ballarat could benefit enormously from wind farms in the region.

It says there would be a positive economic impact that would result from an increase in wind turbines.

BREAZE community campaigner Andrew Bray said the wind farming industry is just taking off and Ballarat is in one of the best placed regions in the country to take advantage of it.

“The wind industry is undergoing a real growth phase. There is nowhere else in Victoria that has as much (wind farms) as we have, but we feel we can take advantage from it a lot more,” he said.

Mr Bray said there was planning approval for more than 1800 megawatts within 100 kilometres of Ballarat, which equated to about 800 turbines.

The federal government’s renewable energy target is estimated to unlock $20 billion of new investment across the country.

Mr Bray believes Ballarat can have a significant share in that.

The submission outlined a number of flow-on economic benefits that would stem from the wind farms.

It claims there would be a vast number of direct employment opportunities if the farms were to go ahead, in areas such as production, maintenance and development opportunities.

Also listed in the submission are a number of indirect financial opportunities from businesses that may not seem to be directly related to production, such as concreting and research.

Mr Bray said the environmental impact would also be an extreme positive.

There has been a number of reports of ill-health as a result of wind turbines, but Mr Bray said there was no proof behind the claims and did not believe an increase in turbines would have a negative health impact. “There’s no scientific evidence to say there is anything to those claims,” he said.

Mr Bray said he hoped for a series of public hearings, preferably in the Ballarat area, in regards to the submission in the near future.

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