Baillieu retirement allows Premier Napthine to dump unpopular anti-wind farm laws

Ted Baillieu
Former Premier Ted Baillieu, the architect of Victoria’s anti-wind farm laws.

News of former Premier Ted Baillieu’s retirement opens up space for Premier Napthine to dump the unpopular anti-wind farm laws.

“Ted Baillieu was the architect of Victoria’s anti-wind farm laws which cost the state 466 jobs and $864 million of investment,” Leigh Ewbank, Friends of the Earth renewables spokesperson.

“It’s time for the government to show political leadership and dump Baillieu’s anti-wind laws. Such a move would be welcomed by wind energy workers and companies in Premier Napthine’s own electorate.”

The anti-wind farm planning laws introduced by Premier Baillieu include an unprecedented 2km right of veto for householders to block projects, as well as blanket bans in the windiest parts of the state.

A Friends of the Earth research report published in April found the anti-wind laws have cost the state:  Continue reading “Baillieu retirement allows Premier Napthine to dump unpopular anti-wind farm laws”

Fremantle Community Wind Farm fights for turbines at Port

The Fremantle Community Wind Farm has launched a new Thunderclap campaign in order to raise awareness about an incredible opportunity to generate renewable energy from within the Fremantle Port itself.

The development is expected to increase the productivity and sustainability of state-owned land at the site while also generating locals jobs and community profits.

To accomplish this the group would like to build eight new wind turbines, with an installed capacity of 6.4 MW, on unused land at Fremantle Port.

Continue reading “Fremantle Community Wind Farm fights for turbines at Port”

Napthine govt takes first step to fix wind farm laws, yet more reform needed

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The community-owned Hepburn Wind farm

According to The Weekly Times, the Victorian Planning Minister Matthew Guy will amend wind farm planning laws to allow already-approved wind farms to use the best-available technology.

Under the amended planning laws, wind energy companies will be permitted to make minor modifications to boost wind farm efficiency, such as increased turbine capacity or blade length.

Friends of the Earth welcome the changes. The Napthine government’s decision is an acknowledgment there are problems with the wind farm planning laws, and as a positive step forward by the government on wind energy.

The reforms build a foundation for more action. More reform is needed to create jobs and unleash investment in the Victorian renewable energy sector.  Continue reading “Napthine govt takes first step to fix wind farm laws, yet more reform needed”

Blown away by policy on wind power

10524449_10152546085770540_7998016_nLast week, The Weekly Times reported that numerous wind farm developments across Victoria may face termination due to the highly inflexible nature of the Napthine government’s anti-wind farm laws and permit rules (our coverage is here).

Some 20 companies who were successfully granted permits prior to the introduction of the anti-wind farm laws have been denied the ability to make simple upgrades to their farm turbines. Minor modifications such as the use of more efficient generators and longer, more aerodynamic blades are not permitted.

The anti-wind farm laws have killed off the pipeline for new proposals and uncertainty surrounding the Renewable Energy Target has stalled investment in shovel-ready wind farm. As Sandra Hawkins argued in a letter to the editor published by The Courier (Ballarat), it is another factor that prevents regional communities from reaping the benefits of renewable energy: Continue reading “Blown away by policy on wind power”

Victoria’s anti-wind farm legislation now threatens the viability of pre-approved wind projects

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Premier Napthine and PM Tony Abbott sing from the same song sheet when it comes to renewable energy.

Numerous wind farm developments across Victoria may face termination due to the highly inflexible and restrictive nature of the Napthine government’s anti-wind farm laws and permit rules.

The Weekly Times report that the 20 companies successfully granted permits prior to the introduction of these laws have been denied the ability to make simple upgrades to their farm turbines.

These upgrades – designed merely to implement new and more efficient technology – would in no way infringe on conditions already held.

What’s more, the reluctance of the Napthine government and its Planning Minister Matthew Guy to accommodate for such rudimentary modifications could see the loss of considerable, and much-needed, revenue and employment to regional communities. Continue reading “Victoria’s anti-wind farm legislation now threatens the viability of pre-approved wind projects”

Global Wind Energy Day picnic at Parliament – You’re invited!

There has been a tsunami of support for wind energy and renewables since the review of the Renewable Energy Target commenced. Unlike some politicians (such as Treasurer Joe Hockey), we’re proud of Australia’s wind energy sector and the contribution it … Continue reading Global Wind Energy Day picnic at Parliament – You’re invited!

Warburton Review is loading the dice against Renewable Energy Target

RET MeetingOn Friday May 30, Friends of the Earth took a principled stand against the flawed Warburton Review of the Renewable Energy Target. Shaun Murray and Leigh Ewbank walked out of a meeting with the Warburton Review after receiving inadequate responses to questions about the process.

Friends of the Earth wasn’t the only group in the room last Friday. The Australian Youth Climate Coalition and the Australian Wind Alliance were there too. And they share our concern that the Warburton Review is loading the dice against renewable energy.

“Many of the people I represent would sympathise with the frustration felt by Friends of the Earth representatives,” said Andrew Bray, National Coordinator of the Australian Wind Alliance.

“Though the RET review’s terms of reference state it must examine the social impacts of the RET, there are no plans to model the social benefits that wind farms bring to regional economies to guide its recommendations.”

AWA_Facebook_Profile_Pic_v01_p02_sml“With hundreds of our members making individual submissions to highlight the social and local economic benefits of the RET to date, we can only hope that the voices of rural people will be heard.

Phoebe Howe from the Australian Youth Climate Coalition left the meeting concerned that widespread support of renewable energy in Australia’s communities may not be factored into the review. Continue reading “Warburton Review is loading the dice against Renewable Energy Target”

Macedon residents fired up about Baillieu’s brown tape

r0_193_3264_2037_w1200_h678_fmaxFriends of the Earth’s recent report on the costs of Ted Baillieu’s anti-wind farm laws has put renewable energy on the state election agenda.

The Age featured exclusive coverage of the research report. The Macedon Ranges Guardian, a prominent newspaper in the battleground seat of Macedon, reported on the local impacts of the Coalition government’s anti-wind farm laws.

In addition to scuttling two utility-scale projects in the Macedon region, it’s well known that the government’s arbitrary blanket ban prevented a community wind farm from going ahead in Woodend.

The Macedon Ranges Guardian published the following letter by Macedon resident Marie Lakey, who takes issue with Liberal candidate Donna Petrovich’s support for Baillieu’s brown tape:  Continue reading “Macedon residents fired up about Baillieu’s brown tape”

Surf Coast Energy Group backs wind farms, jobs in Victoria

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 3.13.54 PMFriends 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 Age featured exclusive coverage of the research report. The Surf Coast Times and Macedon Ranges Guardian, newspapers in the battleground seats of South Barwon and Macedon, reported on the local impacts of the Coalition’s anti-wind farm laws.

These local impacts prompted Surf Coast councillor Eve Fisher  to draft a motion calling for community-initiated projects to be exempted from the state government’s restrictive planning laws.

President of the Surf Coast Energy Group, Aaron Lewtas, has entered the debate. Lewtas sees wind energy as an opportunity to create jobs and strengthen economies while tackling climate change:  Continue reading “Surf Coast Energy Group backs wind farms, jobs in Victoria”

Wind energy on the Vic election agenda in Macedon

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 3.13.54 PMFriends of the Earth’s recent report on the costs of Ted Baillieu’s anti-wind farm laws has put renewable energy on the state election agenda.

The Age featured exclusive coverage of the research report. The Macedon Ranges Guardian, a prominent newspaper in the battleground seat of Macedon, reported on the local impacts of the Coalition government’s anti-wind farm laws.

In addition to scuttling two utility-scale projects in the Macedon region, it’s well known that the government’s arbitrary blanket ban prevented a community wind farm from going ahead in Woodend.

“The State Government’s anti-wind farm laws prohibited our project without any consultation or justification,” said Barry Mann of the Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group —the organisation behind the community wind farm proposal. “We’d love to follow in the footsteps of Hepburn Wind and build a community wind farm in Woodend.”

The Friends of the Earth research prompted responses from the major party candidates.  Continue reading “Wind energy on the Vic election agenda in Macedon”