Victorian wind farm laws: a blow to Australia’s clean energy future?

Originally published at The Conversation. Read the original article

By Lisa Caripis and Anne Kallies, University of Melbourne.

It’s been just over one year since the Baillieu government introduced the second part of its far-reaching planning law reforms to restrict the development of wind farms in Victoria. The results are an example of how state planning law can be a barrier to achieving national renewable energy goals.

With a majority in both houses of Parliament, the Coalition was able to amend Victoria’s planning framework unhindered to deliver on its 2010 election promise to “restore fairness and certainty to the planning process for wind farms”.

In pursuit of this aim, the planning amendments most notably impose a blanket ban on wind farms in many parts of the state. They effectively give the owners of any dwelling within 2km of a proposed wind farm the power to decide whether or not the development should proceed. A July 2012 amendment clarifies that these changes are targeted at wind farms generating electricity for supply to the grid, not for on-site use.

Economically, reports indicate that the impacts of these changes in terms of lost or stalled wind farm investment and employment have been considerable, in a state that has some of Australia’s best wind resources.

While promising to “give the community a greater voice” through these changes, the amendments instead render local, pro-wind initiatives, such as community wind farm projects impossible in many locations. Continue reading “Victorian wind farm laws: a blow to Australia’s clean energy future?”

Anti-wind attack on property near Ararat

The following story comes from the Ararat Advertiser. Vandals wreaked havoc on a property near Ararat earlier in the week, causing $10-$15,000 damage. Apart from being a criminal act, it appears that politics are also at play. As the article notes: “Many of the slogans sprayed on the walls are threats, warning the Hamiltons not to install a wind turbine on the property”. Graffiti visible in a photo attached to the story says ‘wind turbines suck’. While emotions can run high in the debate over wind energy, most people act in appropriate ways to express their feelings. It would appear … Continue reading Anti-wind attack on property near Ararat

Acciona abandons Newfield wind farm

The following account from the Warrnambool Standard outlines the reasons for Acciona abandoning their proposed wind farm at Newfield, just north of Port Campbell in South-West Victoria. Acciona are still proceeding with the Mt Gellibrand wind farm, near Colac. You can see all approved, operating, and blocked wind farms in Victoria on a map here.   Port Campbell wind farm scrapped ALEX SINNOTT 24 Feb, 2012 A WIND farm development near Port Campbell has been scrapped with its proponents claiming the project was too expensive to develop. Spanish company Acciona Energy confirmed yesterday it would ditch its Newfield wind farm … Continue reading Acciona abandons Newfield wind farm

Minister approves Hawkesdale, Yambuk wind farms

This article is from the Warrnambool Standard. 25/2/2012 TWO controversial wind farm developments at Hawkesdale and Yambuk ha ve been approved by Planning Minister Matthew Guy after months of negotiation. Spanish proponents Union Fenosa announced yesterday that work on the two sites w ould start as early as next month, ahead of state government reforms of the renewable energy sector. More than $500 million will be pumped into the two projects, one which is located in farmland south-east of Hawkesdale and the other between Yambuk and Orford. Union Fenosa managing director Domingo Asuero said the company would provide site possession … Continue reading Minister approves Hawkesdale, Yambuk wind farms

Mortlake South Wind Farm to proceed

This release comes from the proponent, Acciona Energy. ACCIONA Energy has announced it is proceeding with the Mortlake South Wind Farm in south west Victoria. Andrew Thomson, ACCIONA Energy’s Director of Development, said “We are pleased to be proceeding with the next stages in the development of the Mortlake South Wind Farm”. A planning permit was issued by the Minister for Planning in October 2010 for the Mortlake South Wind Farm at a site located 5 km south of Mortlake. “Over the next 12 months, ACCIONA Energy will prepare a Development Plan for the Mortlake South Wind Farm as required … Continue reading Mortlake South Wind Farm to proceed

‘Vital vote on Woorndoo wind farm’

The following comes from the Warrnambool Standard, Journalist is Matt Neal, 21 Nov, 2011. Planning minister Matthew Guy has recently approved an extension of permits for two other projects in the Moyne Shire. It will be interesting to see how he responds to this one. Vital vote on Woorndoo wind farm A PROPOSED wind farm at Woorndoo is under threat with Moyne Shire councillors to vote tomorrow on whether to grant the developers an extension on their construction starting date. Work on the Salt Creek Wind Energy Facility (WEF) was supposed to have started by November 4 according to the … Continue reading ‘Vital vote on Woorndoo wind farm’