Victoria has got what it takes to grow and maintain a thriving renewable energy jobs sector, but government policy roadblocks are standing in its way, a packed forum of locals heard in Portland on Sunday.
Former Australian Liberal party leader, Dr John Hewson, kicked off the Renewable Energy & Jobs Forum. Dr Hewson said governments need to do much more than we’re doing today to address climate change. “There are enormous opportunities from a sensible response to climate change,” Dr Hewson stated, referring to the jobs that can be created by the growing renewable energy sector.
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.
The Coaltion’s anti-wind farm laws have been front page news in the hotly contested seat of Macedon.
In June, Yes 2 Renewables and the Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group issued an open letter calling on 2014 election candidates to reveal their position on planning laws that ban community wind farms in the seat, and whether they’d support a renewable energy target for Victoria. (Find out what the candidates had to say in the issues here).
The letter set out the barriers to renewable energy and jobs in the Geelong and Surf Coast region—namely, the Napthine government’s anti-wind farm laws and absence of a state renewable energy target—and invited South Barwon candidates to be transparent with their position on the issues.
While we’re still waiting for responses from the Labor and Liberal party, our open letter made it all the way into the hands of Victorian Greens leader, Greg Barber, who had the following to say:
Member for Bowman Andrew Laming has emerged as a wind energy supporter within government as the fallout continues from Treasurer Joe Hockey’s undisciplined comments bagging wind farms.
Taking issue with Joe Hockey’s claim wind energy is “utterly offensive” and a “blight on the landscape,” renewable energy supporters flooded the Sydney Morning Herald with letters defending the technology.
Australian National University academic Hugh Saddler penned a dispassionate analysis concluding that, despite the Treasurer’s hostility, wind energy will remain a growth sector in the ACT.
Friends of the Earth’srecent 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 RangesGuardian, 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.”
This post was featured at Renew Economy, Australia’s leading source for energy news and analysis. Victorian Senator John Madigan (Democratic Labor Party) has alleged that Australia’s wind power generation sector is responsible for a health cover-up comparable to those perpetrated … Continue reading Pollie Watch: More hot air from Sen Madigan