Map shows wind energy’s stunted potential

Media release, 2 Feb 2012

Friends of the Earth (FoE) has released a map showing the state of Victoria’s wind industry graphically. The strong potential for wind power in Victoria is obvious, but so is the impact of 2011’s new VC82 planning law amendment introduced by the Baillieu government.

Preview (see below for actual link)

The map, using the google maps facility, plots the location of each existing or proposed wind farm in the state with a summary of the size of the project and a link to further information.

Proposed wind farms are divided into three categories: green for approved, red for those blocked by 2011’s change to the planning laws, and orange for those not yet approved, or approved but facing extra hurdles before getting the green light to proceed.

FoE campaigner Ben Courtice explained “The map is not as promising as it looks on first glance.

“There are a lot of green turbines on it, the ones with planning approval, but they may not stay that way.

“A few of these are now under construction, or even almost finished. Many have not even secured finance to begin construction yet, and may never do so.

“Most wind farms were approved during previous state governments, and as their approval expires, they will have to re-apply under the 2011 wind farm planning laws.

“The first of these will begin to expire in March 2012. It’s unlikely that many approvals would be renewed under the new laws, which are the most restrictive in the world.

“While it is frequently said that over 1000 turbines have approval in the state, this number could start to drop off very quickly. We will keep the map up to date as these events occur.”

FoE are calling for the 2011 planning law amendments to be repealed. In particular, the outright ban on wind farms in large parts of the state, and the 2km setback policy that allows just one resident within 2km of a proposed wind farm the right of absolute veto. Under these provisions it is unlikely new wind farms will be developed in Victoria.

2 thoughts on “Map shows wind energy’s stunted potential

  1. The sheer scale of anomalies such as the inconsistency with CSG rules, the arbitrary nature of prohibition and the apparent disregard for the mandatory renewable energy targets suggest to me at least that the government is targeting gas as it’s environmental ace.

    If brown coal has to go, and the federal government is going to shell out over 100 million dollars to support the exit of brown coal by funding a gas conversion scheme, it sort of adds up as a logical, albeit flawed plan. It would help retain jobs in the area, and on paper at least, give the appearance that the government is acting on climate change and emissions.

    That more studies are emerging that the net overall outcome of gas is little better than coal has not yet been acknowledged by government.

    Notwithstanding what happens in Latrobe, there is no sane reason why wind farms should be prejudiced as they now are. This is especially so as yet more research shows that wind farms do not have the externalities attributed to them by the paid-for opponents.

  2. Surely donating $Billions to IPR Gdf-SUEZ for conversion of Hazelwood to gas is the biggest waste of money anybody could think of? As CO2 rises, it would need to be switched off. long before a sensible return on investment. Also why contribute this money to Baillieu at all? Why not replace 2GW brown coal power in Whyalla SA, where locals and State are enthusiastic about CST big solar as proposed by BZE, Beyond Zero Emissions. Combined with SA enthusiasm for wind turbines, their proportion of renewables could be 60%. Surely such a result would be the best precedent for a more renewable future?

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