December 6, 2010

Liberals take wind out of eco group’s sails

By Henrietta Cook, Melbourne Weekly, 6 December 2010

Environment campaigners fear the commercial wind farm industry will be destroyed and consumers will lose their ability to sign up to green energy under the Baillieu government.

Friends of the Earth campaigns co-ordinator Cam Walker said the Liberal Party had been “noticeably absent” from the climate change debate and expressed concern about its “regressive” wind farm policy.

“There will be no more wind farms, and consumers will lose their ability to opt into renewable energy, it’s going to be a very sad state of affairs. As more people opt in there won’t be enough green energy to meet demand – people who want to buy green energy in Victoria will be buying it from the national grid.”

Earlier this year, Premier Ted Baillieu announced a wind farm policy that would ban turbines being placed within two kilometres of homes and create “no-go zones” in national parks and growth corridors.

Mr Baillieu said the wind farm policy was designed to give communities more power in determining the location of turbines and wind farms.

Mr Walker said he was disappointed the Liberal Party had failed to produce a climate change policy before the election.

“It was easier for them to say nothing. They kept saying, ‘Our policy is coming out’, but it never surfaced. Changing local government light bulbs and planting some trees was the extent of it,” he said.

“It was really puzzling. There was no mention of how Victoria would meet its existing 20 per cent emission reduction target and no commitment to a phase-out of Hazelwood or any coal-fired power station.”

Mr Walker called for the government to review its wind farm policy and release a climate change policy.

New Environment and Climate Change Minister Ryan Smith was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

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