A Victorian Government decision to allow modest changes to approved wind farms will effectively reduce red tape for business and make the state more attractive to renewable energy investors, the Clean Energy Council said today.
Clean Energy Council Acting Chief Executive Kane Thornton said the move would 'put Victoria back in the race' to attract investment from the renewable energy sector. The changes would deliver more renewable energy at a lower cost, two things all Victorians want to see, he said.
"New South Wales Environment Minister Rob Stokes said last week that he wants the state to be Australia's California, the centre of renewable energy development and investment in the United States. And South Australia has announced a $10 billion target for renewable energy investment in the state," Mr Thornton said.
Mr Thornton said while the move was a positive one, the ongoing review of the Renewable Energy Target had stifled investment and left a dark cloud hanging over the industry this year.
"We have already seen job losses announced by many businesses, with many multinational companies also contemplating their future in Australia in light of ongoing policy instability," he said.
"If we lock in the legislated Renewable Energy Target, we will unlock approximately $15 billion in large-scale renewable energy investment and much more in household clean energy technologies such as solar power. Where that investment lands across the country will depend on how determined Australia's state governments are to attract renewable energy projects."
Mr Thornton said Victoria's planning changes showed that it was possible to establish a planning regime which respected the important needs of local communities, while delivering more efficient and modern wind farms that would help to keep power prices lower.
"The wind industry recognises the importance of working closely with local communities to ensure their strong support for wind energy and all renewable energy projects across the state. These sensible changes ensure that turbines will not move any closer to houses, which retains the community protections that the planning system is there to enforce," he said.
Please contact Clean Energy Council Media Manager Mark Bretherton on 0413 556 981 for more information or to arrange an interview.