The Victorian Opposition's strong support for the wind industry today is a very welcome and clear demonstration of support for the jobs and investment wind energy can bring to the state, the Clean Energy Council said today.
Clean Energy Council Acting Chief Executive Kane Thornton said the announcement from Victorian Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews showed the strong support of the state Labor Party for the wind industry, and the recognition of the value of wind energy to Victoria.
"We are very encouraged by Labor's commitment to an improved planning policy for wind energy in Victoria. The current framework has been a major barrier for additional wind energy investment in the state, with very few wind farms being approved in the last four years," Mr Thornton said.
"A revised planning policy that reduces the buffer distance between houses and wind turbines from 2 km to 1 km would help to get the balance right between ensuring the amenity of residents is protected and encouraging investment in renewable energy.
"The small changes proposed by Labor could potentially unlock thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of investment that Victoria stands to gain under the federal Renewable Energy Target (RET) – as long as a strong policy outcome is negotiated at the federal level."
Mr Thornton said the current review of the Renewable Energy Target was creating huge challenges for the wind and renewable energy sector in Victoria, and right around Australia.
"If the Federal Government continues with its plan to dramatically slash the RET, our industry will be devastated," he said.
"Without a strong RET, Victoria would lose the $3 billion of renewable energy investment that would flow into the state behind the policy, as well as the thousands of jobs that would be created to build, operate and maintain the projects.
"The Victorian Premier Denis Napthine yesterday called for a positive outcome on the RET negotiations at the federal level. Once this is achieved, there will be a race between the states to see who can attract the lion's share of investment, and we would encourage Premier Napthine to also modify the government's restrictive planning policy to attract more wind development to the state."
Please contact Clean Energy Council Media Manager Mark Bretherton on 0413 556 981 for more information or to arrange an interview.