Renewable energy is a mainstream issue in the hotly contested seat of Macedon. Yes 2 Renewables have been supporting local community members who support renewable energy.
So far in 2014, we’ve presented at the Woodend Sustainable Living Festival, published an open letter to the Macedon candidates, and hosted a film night. We have also held a demonstration near Woodend on the anniversary of the Coalition’s anti-wind farm laws and participated in the People’s Climate March in Kyneton.
It’s no wonder why the Coalition’s anti-wind farms laws feature prominently in The Age‘s electorate profile. State politics editor, Farra Tomazin writes:
What also matters in Macedon is environmental sustainability. In recent months, renewable energy has become a unique battleground, where wind farm restrictions imposed by the Coalition have literally split the electorate. On one side of the seat a wind farm is operating at Leonard’s Hill, 10 kilometres south of Daylesford; on the other side, the planning laws have thwarted a community push to establish another wind farm in a pine forest on the outskirts of Woodend.
The plan would involve creating three wind turbines, which proponents say could supply power to about 3300 houses and create hundreds of construction jobs. Friends of the Earth spokesman Leigh Ewbank, whose group recently surveyed 1500 voters across the electorate on this issue, says there is a “strong appetite” to repeal the Coalition’s bans – a move that Labor and the Greens support.
Commitments to scrap the government’s “no-go” zones for wind energy from the Labor opposition and The Greens would allow the Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group build their proposed community wind farm. It would allow other communities in the Macedon Ranges to pursue their own community energy projects.
The Coalition’s anti-wind farms laws hit the emerging renewable energy sector hard. Friends of the Earth analysis estimates the laws cost Victoria:
- 490 construction jobs and 64 ongoing jobs (for the life of the wind farm)
- Projects worth over $864 million
- $10.5m worth of economic activity to rural economies
- 438MW of wind energy generation capacity scrapped or stalled, 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
- Community grants worth $806,840 per year (or $20.1m over a 25-year period)
- $2.1m worth of drought-proof income for turbine hosts each year (or $54.2million over a 25-year period)
- $516, 937 worth of rate payments to local councils (or $12.9m over a 25-year period)
Despite the broad benefits of wind energy, Liberal candidate Donna Petrovich maintains opposition for lifting the blanket ban on wind farms in the region (as well as other measures that has crippled the sector):
“A reversion to the ALP policy would mean no planning controls, no two-kilometre buffer, no right of objection – and that is undemocratic. If you look at the way the community reacted here for a proposal for a single-story conference facility in the east paddock of Hanging Rock, I do not think the community would tolerate large-scale wind turbines in this place,” she says.
While Ms Petrovich is entitled to her own views on the desirability of wind energy, we’re pleased to hear her commitment to democracy.
Friends of the Earth have partnered with the Macedon Ranges and Riddells Creek Sustainability Groups to undertake the region’s largest community-run survey. The initiative canvasses the views Macedon Ranges residents hold on energy options, including the current prohibitions on wind farms. The results of the community survey will be released before polling day.
The community survey will allow Macedon candidates to adopt policy positions that are in line with the views of their constituents. With Ms Petrovich’s public commitment to democracy, we trust she’ll be keenly interested in the survey results and be open to modifying her position on the issues.
The Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group, Yes 2 Renewbles and Woodend Cycles are pleased to present Ride 4 Renewables on Saturday 18 October. Join us on to see the location for what could be the next community wind farm in Victoria (provided those pesky wind bans are dumped!)
When: 18 October 10.30am
Where: Starting at Black Forest Timber Mill on Black Forest Drive to the site of proposed community-owned wind turbines in the pine plantation off Fingerpost Road. There will be a photo opportunity before the return ride to Black Forest Timber Mill. (13km round trip).
RSVP: Book your tickets now at www.mrsgonline.org.au/r4r and share the Facebook event here.
Contact: For further details contact R4R@mrsg.org.au.
Macedon Candidates Forum – Oct 22
Want to ask your candidates about the issues that matter to you? This is your chance.We’re told Transition Towns Riddell will host a election forum featuring Labor, Liberal and Greens candidates for Macedon. This will be a rare chance to see compare and contrast the policies of major party candidates.