The surprise return of the Labor government in South Australia means that the book is not entirely closed on Australia’s mainland for renewable energy.
Indeed, while the broad thrust of national renewable energy policy will be directed by the Abbott government, the return of the Jay Weatherill Labor government in Adelaide, the election of Mike Hodgman in Tasmania, and the ambition of the ACT Labor government means that there are some counters to the apparently ideologically-driven opposition to renewables in the Federal government.
As RenewEconomy has noted before, it is not by accident that the three states and territories most supportive of renewable energy in Australia are those with no, or relative weak, fossil fuel interests.
NSW Planning and Infrastructure Minister Brad Hazzard has directed that nine wind farm projects now be considered as State Significant Developments instead of being dealt with under the Part 3A transitional provisions that are a legacy from Labor’s time in office. This decision effectively places them back in the planning system.
The wind farms affected by the NSW government’s reactionary decision are:
and Rye Park
It seems that NSW has joined the Victorian government in privileging a minority of vocal anti-wind campaigners over the majority of the community, who continue to support renewable energy. The previous planning system struck a sensible balance in decision making.
“The NSW government has sown the seeds of community division by reopening the planning process for these wind farms,” Yes 2 Renewables told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Friends of the Earth campaigns coordinator and prominent Australian environmentalist, Cam Walker, says it’s time for the Napthine government to follow the lead of their counterparts in NSW:
Tony Abbott has wasted no time in cutting into climate change programs, including reaffirming earlier commitments to kill off the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which supports the development of renewable energy projects.
The following post is by Yes 2 Renewables volunteer, Jasmine Coghetto:
The NSW Government has approved a pioneering solar power station in Broken Hill and will invest $64.9 million in the project. Victoria’s northern neighbour is leaving the state in the dust as it moves ahead with big solar projects.
The 50-megawatt Broken Hill solar project will install 650,000 photovoltaic modules five kilometres from the remote regional town. It will generate 125,000 MWh of electricity every year, meeting the needs of around 17,000 NSW households. Over 110,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions will be avoided each year—the equivalent of removing 31,000 cars from the road.
Clean, zero-carbon electricity isn’t the only benefit of the Broken Hill plant. The project will make a significant contribution to regional job creation and economic development. Up to 150 direct, local construction jobs will be generated during the 17-month construction period.