September 12, 2006

Wind industry sniffs new direction

The Australian wind energy lobby group believes there are progressive attitudes towards the renewable energy on the Australian scene.

Australian Wind Energy Association (Auswind) spokeswoman Dominique La Fontaine on Tuesday welcomed encouraging signs from the federal government and the South Australian and Victorian governments on the issue.

Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell on Monday promised a national code covering wind farms would be developed, following a meeting involving the federal government, the wind energy industry and community groups.

And SA Premier Mike Rann on Monday announced he would move to toughen the party’s federal climate change policy at Labor’s national convention next year.

SA has 51 per cent of Australia’s wind power and 45 per cent of the country’s grid-connected solar power.

Ms La Fontaine said the Victorian Renewable Energy Target and South Australia’s commitment to renewable energy were progressive policies that would address climate change.

“The federal environment minister’s expression of support for wind energy is also an important step,” she said in a statement.

She said the round table meeting in Canberra centred on promoting better understanding all round.

“The meeting focused on how the industry can best address concerns surrounding wind farm developments,” she said.

“The meeting was not about interfering with the responsibility of state governments to adjudicate on planning issues.”

Ms La Fontaine said the round table recognised that the approach the wind energy industry was already taking was the right one, and agreed that Auswind’s best practice guidelines, independent accreditation scheme and its work on landscape assessment would form the basis of a national code.

“That is a big vote of approval for the industry,” she said.

The meeting also gave community representatives a chance to express their view, while hearing details of the industry’s continuing efforts to ensure world’s best practice in landscape assessment and community consultation,” she said.

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