South Australia’s wind farm industry is cashing in on Victoria’s strict planning guidelines.
More than $5 billion of capital investment in the wind industry was pumped into the South Australian economy last financial year creating 1824 direct and 222 ongoing jobs.
The Weekly Times last week revealed wind developers were investing elsewhere and that no new applications to build wind farms had been lodged since the Victorian Government introduced laws prohibiting developers from building turbines within 2km of a home without the written consent of the owner.
Shadow energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio said regional Victoria had been hit hard by the changes.
“Victoria has clearly lost out from billions of dollars of investment as a direct result of the Baillieu Government’s anti-windfarm policy,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.
A spokeswoman for Planning Minister Matthew Guy said the prohibition of wind turbines within 2km of a residential property ensured “that residents are protected from potential environmental and health impacts” and gave communities a say in major planning applications.
“The Government remains committed to renewable energy. There are currently (existing) permits for more than 1100 turbines in Victoria,” the spokeswoman said.
Meanwhile, a report by acoustician Dr Bob Thorne completed last month suggested the Waubra Wind Farm is non-compliant with noise regulations and recommended the 2km turbine setback be implemented at existing wind farms.
The report, commissioned by a group of residents, was handed to Democratic Labor Party Senator John Madigan who five weeks ago, handed a copy of the report to Minister Guy.
“Since that time my chief of staff has rang their office I think on five occasions and I rang there the other day myself and still haven’t received a return call,” Senator Madigan said.
“I find it unbelievable that you can’t even get a return call to find out what the Government’s reaction to it is.”
Mr Guy said in May he would force turbines to be turned off if it could be proved they breached noise regulations.
A spokeswoman for the Minister said Dr Bob Thorne’s report was under consideration.
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