Labor’s wind energy commitment a welcome first step to get back on track with renewables

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Daniel Andrews announces Labor’s commitment wind energy at the Challicum Hills wind farm.

Friends of the Earth welcome the Labor party’s commitment to ‘rip up’ the worst aspects of the Napthine government’s anti-wind farm laws.

“Labor’s announcement on wind energy is a welcome first step for getting Victoria back on track with renewable energy,” said Friends of the Earth’s renewable energy spokesperson, Leigh Ewbank.

“The announcement paves the way for broader reform of wind energy planning laws.”

“If Labor is serious about wind energy development, they will have to dump the blanket bans on wind farms in the places such as the Macedon Ranges.”

“Labor’s pledge to exempt community-initiated projects from wind farm restrictions is sensible policy. Yet, the blanket bans on wind farms still prohibit commercial projects that enjoy strong community support.”

The Coalition government’s anti-wind farm imposed blanket bans on wind farms the windiest parts of the state, including the Macedon/McHarg Ranges and Bellarine Peninsula. Most controversially, they gave householders the right to veto wind turbines with in 2km of a residence.

Seat of MacedonFriends of the Earth analysis published in April reveals the anti-wind farm laws have cost Victoria:

  • 438 MW of clean renewable energy generation, enough to power almost a quarter of a million homes
  • Projects worth up to $864 million
  • 490 construction jobs and 64 ongoing jobs
  • $10.5 million in economic benefit to regional economies
  • Over $2.1 million of drought-proof income for farmers each year

“We look forward to Labor’s plans to drive the rollout of renewable energy in Victoria, now that it has shown its intent to remove barriers to the sector,” said Leigh Ewbank.

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Victoria doesn’t have a state Renewable Energy Target and is lagging behind states that do.

Friends of the Earth have called on the Premier Napthine and opposition leader Daniel Andrews to commit to restoring a Victorian Renewable Energy Target that works alongside the national scheme.

“Victoria desperately need its own Renewable Energy Target,” said Mr Ewbank.

“The ACT has a renewables target of 90% by 2020. South Australia’s target has been lifted to 50% by 2025. Victoria doesn’t have a target and it’s costing jobs.

“A Victorian Renewable Energy Target will create jobs and unleash investment in Victoria – which is something all political parties can support.”

The Victorian Greens have endorsed the call for a Victorian Renewable Energy Target. The Labor party has expressed conditional supported for reintroducing a VRET if the Abbott government axes the national scheme.

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