Wind-farm construction in Victoria is powering along.
More than 20 wind farms are being built or are awaiting final approval.
The five farms under construction and 16 awaiting approval will more than double the 18 wind farms already dotting the landscape, mainly in the state’s west.
The construction surge is due to the Victorian Government’s renewable energy target of 25 per cent of the state’s power by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025.
And the irony of the Labor Government move is that, according to environment group Friends of the Earth, Liberal-held rural electorates are in the box seat to benefit most from the renewable push.
“Ripon, Polwarth and South-West Coast are three Liberal electorates most likely to be the greatest beneficiaries of VRET,” FoE spokesman Leigh Ewbank said.
He said the wind farms would create jobs, pay rates, power homes and provide income to farmers.
In Ripon, the most marginally held Coalition seat with a .75 per cent margin in favour of sitting Liberals MP Louise Staley, Mr Ewbank said four approved wind farms, with more than 300 turbines, would pay almost half a million dollars in rates to local councils. He said the wind farms had created almost 780 jobs in construction.
Mr Ewbank said two proposed wind farms in Liberal Roma Britnell’s South-West Coast electorate, with a combined 93 turbines, would create 228 construction jobs and pay more than $180,000 in rates.
The FoE analysis from Polwarth, held by Richard Riordan, showed four farms in various stages of approval with a cumulative 486 turbines would create 1367 jobs and more than $600,000 worth of local council rates.
But Liberal Member for Western Victoria Simon Ramsay slammed the VRET, saying it would change the western Victoria landscape forever.
“The once tranquil hinterlands and pastures of food production land will be churned into a setting mass of industrial machinery,” Mr Ramsay said.
Energy and Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said: “Simon Ramsay needs to explain to the people of Western Victoria why he is against VRET when it will drive down power prices, bring on more supply and create thousands of jobs in regional areas”.