Wind farm rollout drives carbon reductions in SA, while brown tape stalls Victoria’s wind sector

New data from the Australian Energy Market Operator shows wind energy is doing the heavy lifting to reduce South Australia’s carbon emissions.

The transformation occurring in South Australia’s energy system is a far cry from Victoria where restrictive ‘brown tape’ ban wind farms in large swathes of the state.

The anti-wind farm laws endorsed by Premier Napthine have cost the state $887 million in lost or stalled investment and around 2000 jobs to the benefit of South Australia. Since 2011, wind energy has pumped $5 billion into the South Australian economy and created over 2000 jobs.

Support Yes 2 Renewables - Campaigning for fair laws for wind farms!
Support Yes 2 Renewables – Campaigning for fair laws for wind farms!

Wind energy in South Australia is a success story: reducing carbon emissions and electricity prices.

Data from AEMO’s South Australian Historical Market Information report reveals carbon emissions from South Australia’s energy sector declined 7 percent in just one year. Energy analysts attribute the lowest wholesale electricity prices since the market commenced in 1998 to wind energy.

Ten years ago, wind energy supplied almost none of South Australia’s electricity demand. Today it provides a quarter of South Australia’s electricity demand, more than coal. Meanwhile, wind energy in Victoria has stagnated for two years, since the Coalition government introduced stringent planning restrictions for wind farms.

Victoria’s prohibitive wind farm planning regulations were implemented by Minister for Planning Matthew Guy who has the authority to amend the planning scheme.  The laws can be changed as easily as they were implemented.

Victoria has a world class wind resource with excellent development potential. It’s time for political leadership. It’s time to remove the brown tape and restore fair laws for wind farms.


Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber raised an interesting point on Twitter regarding the interaction between the Coalition government’s current wind farm planning laws and the Renewable Energy Target:

7 thoughts on “Wind farm rollout drives carbon reductions in SA, while brown tape stalls Victoria’s wind sector

  1. Quite right; South Australia is way out ahead of those backward Victorians. It is just as it should be – in that way.

  2. How much greenhouse gas are you going to save when you have met your goal of covering the country in these things.What .0002% of global emmissions??? Just dreamers!!!!!!!.

    1. Wind contribution is significant. It is effective and that why fossil fuel fossils fund wind’s organised and effective opposition. Watch them turn on solar

  3. Say what? Damned lies and statistics…. In the last two years in Vic largest wf in southern hemisphere was built (Macarthur 420 MW), Mt Gellibrand (189MW) also currently Mt Mercer (131MW) & Bald Hills (>100MW) in construction with Ararat (up to 255 MW) being bid to market. Vic currently spanking SA for new developments. In addition, although Stockyard Hill is on hold for a year, lots of other Vic wfs have planning approval (Ryans Corner, Hawkesdale, Tarrone, Newfield, Berrimal etc.) and so are not held up by brown tape. The main hold up is federal indecision on the targets and future of the sector. Napthine policies affect future wind farms but not the next crop which already have approval.

    Oh Chris, Macarthur meets approx 5-6% of Vic’s energy needs.

    1. “Lies”… That’s a big call that doesn’t stack up, Knoxy. While it’s true the Macarthur wind farm did come online this year, the project was approved by the Labor government. The Bracks/Brumby Labor government’s approved ~1800 MW of wind farms. Since taking office in 2010, the Coalition have approved a meagre 21MW.

      In reference to the projects you claim are now under construction, the following analysis will clear a few things up. In an article published by the VPELA Newsletter in October 2012, Phil Burn explained:

      “Transitional arrangements for VC82 have now expired. Making minor changes to projects, often required for specific turbine models, such as increasing the blade hight (even if it corresponds with a reduction in tower height or removal of wind turbines) or making minor layout adjustments will need to meet the application requirements and comply with the current clause 52.32 – including the requirement for consent from dwelling owners within 2km. The transitional arrangements resulted in some permits expiring and a number of projects being forced to commence ‘early works’ to keep permits alive.”

      In addition to Burn’s analysis, which shows the impact Napthine’s brown tape is having on the wind energy sector, the Cherry Tree Range proposal now languishing in VCAT is another case of policy failure.

      Lastly, you are correct to note the impact of uncertainty surrounding the national Renewable Energy Target. It compounds the issues created by the Napthine’s anti-wind farm laws. Thanks for your contribution.

    2. “Napthine policies affect future wind farms but not the next crop which already have approval.” Not quite right – extending a permit expiry or changing the approval near impossible

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