Eco Innovator November 2011

Government Policy

Victorian Wind Policy To Send Investment Interstate

Multi-billion dollar investment in regional Victoria and hundreds of new regional jobs will be the casualties of the Victorian Government's 2 kilometre wind setback policy and the prohibition of wind energy investment in large areas of the state such as the Macedon and Yarra Ranges, says the Clean Energy Council.

Chief executive Matthew Warren said approximately $3 billion in investment would be lost to Victoria as a result of its new planning policy.

"Carving out large areas of the state as ‘no-go zones' sends a clear message that Victoria is closed for business when it comes to future wind energy," he said. "More than half of future wind farms proposed in Victoria will not be built as a direct result of this policy.

"The Victorian Government is sending jobs and investment interstate and will effectively drive up electricity prices in Victoria. Individual landholders can effectively hold developers to ransom under this policy by refusing to sign up to an agreement."

The policy could also affect small innovative businesses. Hepburn Wind, which recently completed Australia's first community owned wind farm, two turbines at Daylesford in Victoria, said that under the new regulations its wind farm would not have been built.

"All five community wind proposals that we are aware of fall within these new zones," it said.

"It is hard to reconcile these changes with the fact that just three months ago we won the coveted Premier's Award for Sustainability in recognition of our hard work to share the benefits of wind energy with the community."

"Since we received the Premier's award, we began generating large amounts of clean, locally generated energy, launched the first round of our community fund, and hired our fourth local staff member," said Hepburn Wind.

Mr Warren said wind turbines are quiet, safe and clean, yet the Victorian Government is imposing mandatory setbacks on technology without consultation. The setback policy is not based on science and is "completely arbitrary".

"The government has effectively introduced major changes to the planning system overnight with no industry consultation and many areas of great uncertainty still exist in relation to the implementation of this policy," he said.

Hepburn Wind says Australia’s first community wind farm, in country Victoria, would not have been possible under the Victorian Government’s new rules.





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