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Windfarms ‘appalling’ for Australian landscape, Hockey says

Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey said he doesn’t regret calling windfarms “utterly offensive,” as the government considers scrapping a renewable energy target that’s fostered A$20 billion ($18.1 billion) of investment.

“We get some beautiful landscapes in Australia and frankly putting up those towers is just, to me, quite appalling in those places,” Hockey said at the Bloomberg Summit in Sydney today. In a May radio interview, the treasurer described wind turbines operating between Sydney and Canberra as “a blight.”

Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s Liberal-National coalition government has repealed a mechanism that placed a price on carbon and is considering whether to scrap or phase out the renewable energy target. A government-appointed panel last month said the program should either be closed to new entrants or modified so the share of electicity generated from renewable sources doesn’t exceed 20 percent.

The target requires electricity retailers to buy renewable certificates from wind and solar farms or generate clean power themselves.

Hockey said today his opposition to windfarms was “aesthetic” and renewables were “hugely important” to developing a diverse energy supply.

“Just for all the ‘Greenies’ in the audience, if they built a huge coal-fired power station there I’d be equally appalled,” he said.