Policies around wind farm developments have been changed to help the State Government reach its target to have 33pc of electricity generated from renewable sources by 2020, according to Renewables SA commissioner Tim O’Loughlin.
Mr O’Loughlin said at a Grant District Council meeting that it was mandatory for the nation to achieve the Federal Government’s target of generating 20pc of the country’s electricity from renewable energy by 2020.
“We have our own target as a State Government to have 33pc of our electricity generation coming from renewable energy by 2020,” he said.
“We have our own set of rules that are intended to support that target.”
In order to meet this objective, proposed changes have been made to the state’s development plan around wind farms.
Under the changes, wind farms will be assigned “Category 2” status, which denies third parties, including residents, the right to appeal against approved developments, except on the grounds of judicial review of process.
The changes also propose a distance of 1km between turbines and dwellings and 2km between turbines and the peripheral of towns.
Mr O’Loughlin said he was aware of a 5km setback from town centres across the border in Victoria, but that 2km in South Australia was more “sensible”.
“I think the Victorian Government could not care less if there wasn’t another wind farm built in that state,” he said.
“The 1km distance between dwellings and turbines is supported by science – it’s the distance you need to achieve noise requirements anyway, so there’s some logic in our approach.”
When asked if the 2km setback could hamper future developments or expansions on the outskirts of towns, Mr O’Loughlin said wind farms would be no different from other developments.
“It’s not different from other developments such as piggeries, but it’s hard to explain to people, particularly when they are fired up about things,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr O’Loughlin said the region was ideal for the establishment of a Renewable Energy Centre of Excellence, which will play a key role in the establishment of the government’s renewable energy strategy.
“This part of the world has got the right ingredients to host something like that,” he said.
Mr O’Loughlin encouraged council to apply for Federal Government funding to establish a centre locally.
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