The consequences of the Baillieu government’s anti-windfarm planning laws introduced twelve months ago are becoming clear. In addition to the in-depth Yes 2 Renewables report detailing the adverse impact VC82 has had on jobs and investment in Victoria, it is now known that states with sensible planning laws are taking advantage of the changed playing field.
Cimara Pearce of the Herald Weekly Times reports that ‘South Australia’s wind farm industry is cashing in on Victoria’s strict planning guidelines.’ The Herald Weekly Times:
More than $5 billion of capital investment in the wind industry was pumped into the South Australian economy last financial year creating 1824 direct and 222 ongoing jobs.
Thanks to an encouraging regulatory environment, South Australia is leading the nation when it comes to rolling out renewables. ‘There’s been an extraordinary growth in wind power in South Australia over the last five years,’ says EnergyQuest chief executive Graeme Bethune. ‘Five years ago it was less than 1 per cent, in 2011 it hit 26 per cent of power generation.’ Wind energy now generates more electricity in South Australia than coal-fired power plants (The Advertiser).
The aggressive rollout of wind energy is benefiting the South Australian economy in other ways. The electricity produced by wind farms often outcompete fossil-fuel generators in the energy market. By displacing the dispatch of more expensive fossil-fuel powered electricity, wind energy depresses pool prices and results in lower wholesale electricity prices.
… South Australian householders are paying 0.366cents ($18 a year) for wind but saving 0.5cents ($25 a year) on wholesale electricity. In other words, they’re already better off to the tune of $7 and we’ve only just started shifting to renewables.
In Victoria, wind energy provides a much smaller proportion of electricity—around 2 percent compared to South Australia’s impressive 26 percent. Victorian electricity prices would be lower if the state was generating a quarter of it’s electricity from wind as is the case in South Australia. What are the prospects of this happening under the current planning guidelines? Essentially nil.
Premier Ted Baillieu and Planning Minister Matthew Guy can create jobs, attract investment, and deliver carbon-free energy and cheaper electricity prices for Victorians. All they have to do is repeal VC82 and once again make Victoria ‘the place to be’ for wind energy.