No to fracking, yes to renewables!

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 10.03.37 AM
One thousand strong: An anti-fracking rally in Melbourne.

At the weekend, hundreds of Gippsland farmers and community members joined Melbournians to send Premier Napthine a message about Victoria’s energy future.  The 1000-strong rally marched through the heart of Melbourne, gathering at the State Library to present Greens leader, Greg Barber MLC, with petition signed by 11,000  calling for a ban on new coal and unconventional gas mining in Victoria.

Unlike unconventional gas extraction, wind energy can provide Victorians with a reliable source of electricity while increasing farm productivity. Wind farms generate a drought-proof income stream for turbine hosts, neighbours (see Coonooer Bridge wind farm), and communities.

Unfortunately for Victoria, laws introduced by former Premier Ted Baillieu unfairly target the wind energy sector and stand in the way of efforts to address climate change.  

Current Victorian planning regulations allow a polluting coal seam gas well to be located just 100m from a home, whereas clean and safe wind turbines have a two kilometre setback. In Anglesea, residents have no say over a coal mine and power plant operating less than one kilometre from their town.

CSG v Wind
Victoria’s bizarre planning regulations are tougher on clean energy than polluting fossil fuels.

The Victorian planning scheme bans wind farms from large swathes of the state. ‘No-go’ zones prevent clean, renewable energy projects in areas with the richest wind energy resource, such as the Macedon and McHarg Ranges. There are also 21 regional towns where wind farms are prohibited within a five kilometre radius–a move that rules out community-owned projects.

Polls consistently show Victorians strongly support wind farms. According to one poll, commissioned by Pacific Hydro in 2012, 82 percent of Victorians want more wind power in the state.

Polling data from Pacific Hydro.
Polling data from Pacific Hydro.

It’s about time Premier Napthine reforms his government’s energy policy so it aligns with the views of Victorians. On wind energy and on unconventional gas.

3 thoughts on “No to fracking, yes to renewables!

  1. This piece shows just how silly are the rules against renewable energy in Victoria – and elsewhere for that matter. But then, the Liberal Party has never had any credentials in respect of environmental standards.
    But both major parties are at fault.
    Neither the Liberals nor Labor have any intention of doing anything serious about the looming climate change disaster.
    The reason is obvious.
    Real action would involve closing down the fossil fuel sector.
    However, fossil fuel exports are Australia’s only real foreign exchange earners so no government is going to jeopardise that!
    Furthermore, Australia’s emissions are trivial by world standards so if we did make a real effort to eliminate them, it would make negligible difference on the world scale.
    So why bother!
    ‘Fracking’ however is another matter. Now that solar panels are so cheap it is open to a thoughtful homeowner to shift his heating needs from gas to electricity (using a heat pump) and his cooking needs from gas to electricity by means of any of the many electrical cooking technologies now available.
    All this can be done from the rooftop at no cost.
    By the time the ‘frackers’ get their product to market, it may not be wanted.
    Let’s hope they don’t wreck the environment in the process of learning this painful lesson.

  2. The same reply from me. Ask the people within 2km of a proposed wind farm and the response against will go from 11% to above 90%, as recently revealed by the Baringhup survey. You just don’t get. Then again maybe you do that is why you don’t ask.

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