Planning Minister “killing off $430 million worth of proposed investment”

The following comes from the Warrnambool Standard. As its notes in the article, these projects would constitute $430 million worth of investment in renewable energy infrastructure, jobs, and business opportunities. This is now potentially lost to the region.

Previously, the Coalition government has said it is “powerless” to control 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 by the last state government. The Hawkesdale and Yambuk projects are amongst this list of previously approved projects. This opens the possibility of other developments being knocked back even though they have been previously approved, a very worrying development.

Impatient council axes ‘arrogant’ wind farm projects

ALEX SINNOTT

MAJOR wind farm projects at Hawkesdale and Yambuk have been thrown into limbo after the Moyne Shire advised the state government to block a permit extension to developers.

Planning Minister Matthew Guy yesterday indicated he would accept the council’s advice, effectively killing off $430 million worth of proposed investment in renewable energy infrastructure.

Moyne Shire councillors voted on Tuesday night to oppose extending permits for the proposed Hawkesdale and Ryan Corner wind farm projects, granted to developers Union Fenosa three years ago.

The Standard understands the move is the first time that a Victorian council have been able to successfully oppose a wind farm proposal since the Baillieu government won office last year.

Mr Guy vowed earlier this year to return planning power on major energy projects to local government, in contrast to predecessor Justin Madden’s centralised approach to decision-making.

Moyne mayor Jim Doukas said many renewable energy developers had become arrogant and believed the council decision was a warning to other project operators. He said councillors were unimpressed with how Union Fenosa consulted council and the wider community.

“Renewable energy developers think they have carte blanche with local shires, that we’ll just rubber stamp whatever they want,” Cr Doukas said.

“Well, those days are over. “It has been overkill for the past couple of years and this Ryan Corner knock-back is a big wake-up call to the others (energy developers) that they need to lift their game.”

Cr Doukas said Union Fenosa had failed to update its wind farm blueprints for the Ryan’s Corner and Hawkesdale projects, omitting important details such as changes to state government set back rules.

He said the developers had been “a little arrogant in assuming that Moyne Shire would rubber stamp the project.”

A spokeswoman for the Planning Minister said the state government was committed to returning energy project decision-making to local councils.

“The Coalition government committed to giving planning authority back to local councils on wind farms,” she said.

“We have done that and Moyne’s decision shows that this is now the case.”

Changes to noise standards, turbine “set-back” requirements and aesthetic reasons were cited by Moyne councillors as reasons to oppose the present permit lodged by Union Fernosa.

Friends of the Earth spokesman Cam Walker said the decision would set a disturbing precedent.

Mr Walker said it would push wind turbine development interstate.

He said yesterday’s application knock-back was the first time a local council had opposed a renewable energy development under the state government’s new planning rules.

Former planning minister Justin Madden announced in August 2008 that the state government would give the go-ahead to the 68-turbine Ryan Corner development and a smaller 31-turbine project at Hawkesdale.

A Union Fenosa spokesman said wet weather during the past season had prevented developers from accessing the Ryan Corner site sandwiched between Orford, Yambuk and Port Fairy.

Similar wet conditions were reported at the Hawkesdale wind farm site, south-east of the township.

However, a company representative was unable to comment to The Standard last night on the Planning Minister’s decision.

8 thoughts on “Planning Minister “killing off $430 million worth of proposed investment”

  1. Sorry.
    Send them to Far North Queensland. We are one of the most energy vulnerable regions in Australia – but this does not need to be the case.
    Bring your development, your jobs and clean energy here!

  2. Moyne Shire should be congratulated on exercising common sense and good governance on behalf of those who elected them.

    Too many councils have fallen prey to the “green dream” propaganda to which the world has been subjected for decades.

    Interesting to note there doesn’t appear to be one Green on the Moyne Council. All seem to be down to earth people with a grip on reality rather than their heads in the clouds as have many other councils.

    A precedent? Yes. Dangerous? Absolutely not. More a valuable lesson to be learned by other shires from this excellent council.

  3. I love how our little regular group of anti-wind campaigners are so dedicated at commenting on the site.

    For my part, I got bored with the Spa ‘landscape guardians’ site in about 15 minutes and just can’t be bothered with the people hiding behind pretend profiles complaining to each other.

    But as usual, where are the ‘guardians’ when there is a real threat to our landscapes? Like the possibility of massive coal mining, coal seam gas, mineral sands and shale gas? As usual, they are absolutely no where to be seen.

    People who actually care about the land will probably support our call for a ban on CSG and coal: http://www.melbourne.foe.org.au/?q=node/989

    Don’t hold your breath waiting for the ‘guardians’ to join in!

    1. The answer of course is that the guardians don’t give a rats about the landscape, any landscape, they just don’t want anybody benefiting from renewable energy. The guardians are an essentially selfish group of denialists who are antiscience, anti-community and living in the past. Time will eventually reveal how much they have cost the community and the planet but I wonder if they will have the intellectual honesty to admit they were wrong? I doubt it.

  4. “Cr Doukas said Union Fenosa had failed to update its wind farm blueprints… omitting important details such as changes to state government set back rules.”

    But they haven’t changed the setback rules, yet! Perhaps they don’t care about rules, just to kill of renewables?

  5. This is great news for those in the south west. Plain and simple the arrogant wind companies dont have any money and they have to abide by the planning rules just like everyone else.
    If your planning permit runs out because you were to poor to build a windfarm bad luck, you had your chance, maybe someone else will now come along who actually will build a windfarm, who knows?
    Banks are not lending to renewables companies at the moment because they do not like the current political situation and know that as soon as the next election comes around all the subsidies will be axed leaving these mobs with big debts and banks in the red.
    Stop your whinging about the new planning rules there are plenty of windfarms passed and waiting to be built, why arnt they being build is the question?

    1. Mick, if you knew anything about basic financial accountability, you’d understand why project developers are being careful, it’s mugs like you and your right wing science denialists like Tony Abbott who are keeping the markets spooked. But hey, don’t worry about people doing without electricity when they really need it. I’m sure you’ll be fine.

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