Friends of the Earth‘s recent report on the costs of anti-wind farm laws introduced by former Premier Ted Baillieu, and supported by the Napthine government, has put renewable energy on the state election agenda. The report highlights the double standards in Victoria’s energy policy: It’s one rule for fossil fuel generators and another for renewables.
This double standard has struck a chord in the Surf Coast region where a coal mine and power plant operates in close proximity to the town of Anglesea.
Residents who are sick of the pollution from the Alcoa-owned coal plant are building a campaign to Shut It Down. Alcoa want to sell the facility in the wake of the closure of the Point Henry smelter. Alcoa have submitted a license to generate electricity with the Essential Services Commission, which if approved, would allow the generator to dispatch electricity to the grid. The ESC is expected to announce it decision in months.
Recently, Surf Coast councillor Eve Fisher drafted a motion calling to restore some balance to Victorian energy policy. Fisher’s draft motion called on the Napthine government to exempt community-initiated wind farms projects from the restrictive planning laws.
Surf Coast resident, Andrew Laird, takes issue with the double standards surrounding energy generators in Victoria. Laird penned the following letter published by The Geelong Advertiser:
Cockeyed approach to our energy needs
It is difficult to understand why it is acceptable in 2014 to have a polluting open cut brown coal mine and power station right next to Anglesea, while at the same time a simple non-polluting wind turbine in the same position would be prohibited. All the more so when the electricity produced by the power station at Anglesea will not even be needed after August when Alcoa’s Point Henry smelter closes. There is something fundamentally wrong with our existing laws and regulations when they are delivering outcomes like this for Victorians.
With an election on the horizon, the Napthine government would be wise to act on the double standards on energy policy. Restrictions on wind farms when no such restrictions apply to fossil fuel generators, such as the Anglesea coal plant, cannot be justified. The public understands this point.
If the Napthine government fails to restore balance to Victorian energy policy it will give the Labor party and the Greens an opportunity to show political leadership. Given that public polling shows a strong preference for renewables over fossil fuel generators, the parties who adopt sensible energy policies will have an electoral edge.
- 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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