Friends of the Earth (FoE) have released a new report detailing the economic and environmental costs of Ted Baillieu’s anti-wind farm laws to Victoria.
The analysis shows that anti-wind farm laws introduced by former Premier Ted Baillieu has hit the wind energy sector hard, costing jobs and investment opportunities for regional Victoria.
The findings of the report – The Biggest Losers
- Jobs and regional economies – an estimated loss of 490 construction and 64 ongoing jobs (for the life of the wind farm), as well as the numerous flow-on effects lost to these vacancies (an estimated $10.5m worth of economic activity to rural economies).
Projects worth over $864million in the past three years alone have either been lost or scrapped due to these laws.
- Climate change action – 438MW of wind energy generation capacity scrapped or stalled thanks to the TB laws, designating a loss in state greenhouse gas emissions of around 1.38 million tonnes per annum – enough to power almost a quarter of a million homes.
- Regional communities – regional communities have been denied access to the funding set aside by wind farm operations, a figure totalling $806,840 each (or $20.1m over a 25-year period).
- Wind farmers – farmers robbed of over $2.1m worth of drought-proof income each year (or $54.2million over a 25 year period).
- Local councils – local councils in regional municipalities have been robbed of over $516, 937 (or $12.9m over a 25-year period) in rates from operating wind farms.
The report findings raise fresh questions about the government’s wind farm laws as the state heads to the polls for a November election.
Voters will be paying close attention to where the parties stand on renewable energy. All available polling shows Victorians want more wind farms. The government’s anti-wind farm laws are an electoral liability.
The Labor party has already pledged to ‘rip up’ the Baillieu anti-wind laws. Will Premier Napthine act to restore fair laws for wind farms before it’s too late?
Premier Napthine understands the economic benefits of wind energy more than any other state MP. By showing leadership and scrapping the anti-wind laws, he can unleash investment and create jobs throughout Victoria.
What needs to be done?…
To restore fairness to the planning scheme, the government must:
- Revoke the unprecedented 2km right to veto/setback from households.
- Revoke the arbitrary wind farm exclusion zones and let any such future zones be determined transparently.
- Ensure projects with existing planning approval are given extensions until they are able to begin construction.
- Reinstate the Minister for Planning as the responsible authority for projects over 30MW.
To get Victoria back on track and regain ground lost to competitors such as South Australia, the government must:
- Support the national Renewable Energy Target as it stands. Endorse the current 41 Terawatt hour target for large-scale renewable energy generation by 2020
- Re-enact the Victorian Renewable Energy Target to drive investment in shovel-ready wind farm projects.
- Reallocate taxpayer-funded programs for fossil fuels towards establishing renewable energy and clean technology manufacturing hubs. The remaining allocation for the Victorian government’s $370 million Energy Technology Innovation Strategy (ETIS) and $90 million made available for the Advanced Lignite Demonstration Program (ALDP) can be reallocated in the 2014-15 budget.
- Support cleantech jobs for Victoria? Sign our petition calling on Premier Napthine to scrap Ted Baillieu’s anti-wind farm laws and both the Premier and Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews to support renewable energy.
- Volunteer with Yes 2 Renewables and help us build a pro-renewables movement. Only when Victorians are active will the politicians get serious about renewable energy. Contact us here to express interest or email leigh.ewbank [at] foe.org.au for more information.
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