With dozens of wind farm projects in western Victoria, some are wondering if the Coalition’s victory in the federal election is cause for concern.
Writing in an opinion piece for yesterday’s Courier, former Ballarat Renewable Energy And Zero Emissions member, and now the Australian Wind Alliance’s national coordinator Andrew Bray said there are sections of the government that are “still openly hostile” to wind energy.
He noted the wind industry had generated $5 billion in jobs and investment for regional Australia in the last two decades, and called for a leadership to “embrace wind energy”.
Closer to home, the Grampians New Energy Taskforce’s Stuart Benjamin said he was waiting to see how the Coalition articulated its energy strategy.
“All that the industry asks for, particularly developers of large scale renewables, is a consistent operating environment,” he said.
“You need large amounts of capital and you need to protect that.”
The priority is ensuring transmission capacity kept up with the new supply, and there is already work underway to investigate options.
“We estimate it’d cost somewhere between $300 and $500 million for transmission upgrades depending on the route and tenders,” he explained.
“We’re conservatively estimating there’s $4 billion of projects that will be released because of that, potentially more.”
In the more immediate term, projects like the Golden Plains wind farm still require a federal permit before construction can begin.
Rokewood shopkeeper and Golden Plains councillor Helena Kirby said until the permit came through, and the outcome of a Supreme Court case was decided, the community felt like it was at a “standstill”.
“It’s a waiting game at the moment,” she said.
“All the businesses are starting to think ahead about what we’re going to be doing – getting things in place before it all happens.”