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Wind farms out of puff  

Credit:  Peter Hunt, www.weeklytimesnow.com.au 31 August 2011 ~~

Wind farm developers have warned new Victorian Government planning laws will force them to divert $3 billion of projects.

Hundreds of jobs will also be diverted to NSW and South Australia, they warn.

The new planning rules block wind-farm developments across vast areas of the state by delivering a key Coalition election promise granting residents the power of veto on wind turbines being built within 2km of their homes.

Under the new rules wind farm developers are prohibited from building turbines within 2km of a home, unless they gain the owner’s written consent.

Clean Energy Council chief executive Matthew Warren said more than half of future wind farms proposed in Victoria would not be built as a direct result of this policy.

“Individual landholders can effectively hold developers to ransom under this policy by refusing to sign up to an agreement,” Mr Warren said.

“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.”

Planning Minister Matthew Guy said the planning amendment provided certainty for the renewable energy sector by ensuring opportunities still existed to establish wind farms, without adverse impacts on local communities and important social and environmental assets.

But Mr Warren said the Government was sending jobs and investment interstate and would effectively drive up electricity prices in Victoria.

Other no-go zones include:

THE Yarra Valley, Dandenong Ranges, Mornington Peninsula, Bellarine Peninsula, Macedon and McHarg ranges.
LAND within 5km of Mildura, Swan Hill, Echuca, Shepparton, Benalla, Wangaratta, Wodonga, Horsham, Ararat, Ballarat, Greater Bendigo, Hamilton, Portland, Warrnambool, Colac, Geelong, Moe, Morwell, Traralgon, Sale and Bairnsdale.
LAND within 5km of the high water mark along the west coast (Great Ocean Rd area) and in Gippsland along the Bass Coast, South Gippsland and west of Wilsons Promontory.

Victorian Greens environment spokesman Greg Barber said the rules were disastrous for regional Victoria as it faced job losses in manufacturing and food processing sectors.

Mr Barber said the Greens would move to disallow the planning rule amendments in Parliament’s Upper House, but did not have the numbers to block the changes.

Source:  Peter Hunt, www.weeklytimesnow.com.au 31 August 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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