Herald Weekly Times: ‘Victorian Wind Alliance to promote industry’

The Herald Weekly Times‘ Samantha Landy reports on the launch of the Victorian Wind Alliance (Oct 9):

 

A NEW organisation aimed at building support for wind energy in Victoria is set to launch tomorrow.

The Victorian Wind Alliance, made up of wind workers, landowners, environmental and community groups and anyone else who supports wind energy, hopes to promote the wind energy sector in the face of a halt in wind farm developments.

“The premise is that the majority of Victorians and the majority of Australians support the development of renewable energy,” Friends of the Earth campaigns co-ordinator Cam Walker said.

“Here in Victoria, the government has largely stalled action on renewable energy.

“We want to create a community movement that allows the silent majority to express that support.”

It was revealed in July that planning laws introduced by the Victorian Government in August last year had resulted in no new applications to build wind farms in the state.
The guidelines prohibit wind-farm developers building turbines within 2km of a home without the owner’s written consent. A number of “no-go zones” were also declared in Victoria.

This was despite more than 75 per cent of regional and city dwellers pledging their support for wind farms in a Clean Energy Council survey in June. Around 1200 people were quizzed across Victoria, NSW and South Australia.

The Victorian Wind Alliance will release a wind energy ‘pledge’ tomorrow and launch a website where people can register their support.

Mr Walker said “several hundred people” had already expressed interest in joining the alliance.

The Friends of the Earth member said harnessing the wind to provide clean energy would have many benefits for Victoria, environmentally and financially.

“When wind farms are built in Victoria, they are worth around $16 million for landowners (per year),” Mr Walker said.

“When all wind farms are built they generate $4.5 million a year for Victorian local councils.

“Hundreds of people are also employed directly when wind farms are built.”

14 thoughts on “Herald Weekly Times: ‘Victorian Wind Alliance to promote industry’

  1. “The premise is that the majority of Victorians and the majority of Australians support the development of renewable energy” – While this is factually correct it is the question which is the problem. If you asked the question – Would you like to have a 160m tall turbine within 2km of your home? The answer would be very different!

  2. I doubt the answer would always be different. While some people may not like the idea of turbines being constructed adjacent to their property, the evidence around the Toora wind farm suggests that people are happy moving into houses where turbines are close by.

  3. Unless the question is asked we will never know. I have no issue with people that willingly move into an area with existing infrastructure as they are doing this with their eyes open. It is those that have something imposed on them that is the issue and that is where a 2km buffer is fair(er). I know people that have moved to inner Melbourne on busy truck routes because housing was cheaper than less busy areas, that then set up committees to complain about truck use of their roads. If you move into an area that has a wind farm ok you accept what is there.

  4. Peter, trucks spew carcinogenic diesel exhaust fumes and pose a genuine threat to life and limb on narrow suburban roads (like Moore St and Buckley St Footscray, near my old house, for example). The numbers have also been growing significantly over the last 10-15 years due to growing port traffic and the construction of the CityLink tollway. Residents are quite reasonably concerned about this.

    On the other hand, all polls and research that I’m aware of indicate that 70-80% of people – including in the areas with wind farms constructed – are fine with them and mostly would be happy with more.

  5. A couple of weeks ago, Origin announced that they were not going ahead with the construction of their approved wind farm at Lexton. Had they gone ahead, I would have had a turbine at 1.5km separation. I am on record on this blog as being in favour of that situation.
    I am not intimidated by turbines. I am sure I am not alone in that view.
    Indeed I am disappointed that the project has been abandoned.
    I wonder if Origin thought of onselling the project – after all, it had approvals in place.

  6. I just heard that Matthew Guy is bringing in compulsory planning controls (height) along the Maribyrnong and Yarra Rivers. I expect FOE and Cam, Ben and Leigh to set up a website to support developers in their quest for unfettered rights like wind farm developers had under the Labor government.

  7. Thanks Peter. Nice try, but that issue is qualitatively different from the planning guidelines the Baillieu government imposed for wind farms.

    Friends of the Earth support the right of communities to have a say in the decisions that affect them. What we object to is unprecedented planning laws that gives individuals, who are not bound by the objectives of the Planning and Environment Act 1987, more power than the broader community. Academics from the University of Melbourne’s prestigious Law School support this analysis in the context of wind energy. You can read their critique of the current planning regime here:

    https://yes2renewables.org/2012/08/29/are-we-planning-away-victorias-renewable-energy-future-ask-melbourne-university-academics/

    https://yes2renewables.org/2012/09/05/victorian-wind-farm-laws-a-blow-to-australias-clean-energy-future/

  8. Leigh I tend to agree with you in the context of no-go zones but as far as a 2km buffer goes I think this is very similar to planning controls along our rivers. It can be argued that high rise apartments along our waterways is very sustainable as it helps urban consolidation, people will want to live their and some lucky people will have beautiful views, while others will miss out.

  9. Peter, the 2km right of veto is unprecedented and unfairly targets wind farms. Individuals don’t have the right to veto coal-seam gas wells, coal/gas-fired power plants or freeways–projects that may cause concern. Friends of the Earth support the restoration of fairness and consistency to the Victorian planning scheme.

  10. I think the key words are the right to veto. I agree that it should not be the right of an individual to have that responsibility (or pressure) placed on them. The law should be a compulsory 2km buffer as in the proposed river planning laws. The reality of the current wind farm veto is, if you have a good negotiator, turbines can be placed closer than 2km to a home. As for the other infrastructure you mention I also agree they should also be subject to buffer restrictions.

  11. Where are the rules giving individuals the right to veto a csg plant within 2 ks, or a coal mine or a coal-fired generator , or a chook farm or an abattoir etc etc ???

    1. Wilma

      The rules for CHOOK farms can be found here:

      http://planningschemes.dpcd.vic.gov.au/aavpp/52_31.pdf

      The rules for MINEs and QUARRIES can be found here:

      http://planningschemes.dpcd.vic.gov.au/aavpp/52_08.pdf

      These rules:
      •Contain no reference to 2km veto rights to neighbours
      •Contain extensive lists of permit exemptions
      •Ensure that mining cannot be prohibited anywhere
      •Ensure that public notice to neighbours and communities is not required if certain circumstances are met.

      For comparison the rules for WIND farms can be found here:

      http://planningschemes.dpcd.vic.gov.au/aavpp/52_32.pdf

      happy reading….

  12. Wilma there are rules regarding chook farms, abbatoirs, piggeries etc and I agree that there should be buffer distances for all infrastructrure just as the new planning rules will limit development along our urban rivers. I am sure developers will bleat about their rights to development. (In some cases the same developers who want to build turbines near our homes) Strengthen planning don’t weaken it.

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