A survey of candidates in the new state seat of Buninyong found at least two in favour of the investment, jobs and clean energy that would be generated if the electorate’s three stalled wind farm projects were completed.
Moorabool Environment Group asked the candidates if they would support a Victorian renewable energy target “to make sure that the wind industry has an ongoing role in Victoria”.
“We found that while only the Greens support this practical measure as a matter of policy, the Labor candidate Geoff Howard was also willing to commit to support such a target in parliament and in his party room,” said Ben Courtice, Moorabool Environment Group secretary.
“Sonia Smith, the Nationals candidate, was very positive about having a state target, but only focused on smaller scale projects to supply energy on the premises. This is important for solar power, but in the south of the state large-scale wind energy, not solar, is the big hitter for reducing our high greenhouse emissions.
“Buninyong could be a leading area of the state for wind energy and jobs, but not without a clear policy to see it happen.”
Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews has indicated Labor may introduce a Victorian renewable energy target if the national Renewable Energy Target is removed, and a state target is Greens policy.
As yet, Liberal candidate Ben Taylor had not responded to the questions sent by the group.
Part of the controversy around wind in this election arises from the Coalition state government’s harsh anti-windfarm planning laws, which the Greens have promised to repeal, and Labor are promising to significantly improve. However, already approved projects have been stalled for some time due to Federal issues.
“The wind farms approved for Moorabool have only been stalled because of uncertainty around the national Renewable Energy Target. If the incoming state government takes leadership with a state target, as Labor did in 2006, they could create several dozen ongoing, skilled jobs in the area; and hundreds of construction jobs over the years that they are being built,” Mr Courtice said.
“They would make a big impact on reducing Victoria’s huge greenhouse footprint, and they would provide jobs and income to the farming communities of Moorabool.”
The three wind farms with planning approval in Buninyong are:
Lal Lal: Near Lal Lal and Yendon. 64 turbines, with a capacity of 130 megawatts (MW).
Moorabool: South of Ballan. 107 turbines, with a capacity of 321MW.
Yaloak South: East of Mt Wallace. 14 turbines with a capacity of 29MW.