News | 18th Jul, 2012

Wind farm applications stopped

18 July 2012
Climara Pearce, Weekly Times

VICTORIA'S wind-farm industry has run out of puff.

Planning laws introduced by the Victorian Government almost a year ago have resulted in zero new applications to build wind farms in the state.

The guidelines, brought in by Victorian Planning Minister Matthew Guy last August, prohibit wind-farm developers building turbines within 2km of a home without the written consent of the owner and also declared a number of "no-go zones" in Victoria.

Turbine manufacturers said they were feeling the pinch as the changes had stopped the previously booming wind industry in Victoria dead in its tracks.

Portland manufacturing company Keppel Prince's managing director Steve Garner said he had made about 50 employees redundant "so far".

"We've got no work, we've got no jobs," Mr Garner said.

"For us, the wind industry has just completely died."

Leading renewable energy company Pacific Hydro, which has about a dozen wind farms or wind-farm projects on the go across Australia, said: "Under the guidelines introduced last year, we do not envisage pursuing any new project development in Victoria."

Canberra-based wind-farm developer Windlab has also closed its Melbourne office.

Clean Energy Council policy director Russell Marsh said Victoria was missing out on an opportunity to deliver investment and jobs to regional areas.

"The industry remains very concerned about the lack of future opportunities for wind power in Victoria as a result of the current government's wind-farm policy," Mr Marsh said.

"Many of our members have told us that they will not be attempting to start developing new wind farms in Victoria.

"It is estimated that more than $4 billion in potential wind-farm investment, which could power the equivalent of 1.8 million homes using clean energy and generate around 3000 jobs, will go to other states."

Friends of the Earth campaigns co-ordinator Cam Walker called for the planning guidelines to be reversed.

"We have to overturn them and bring them back to good planning guidelines," he said.

Mr Guy was unavailable for comment.


Check out our report card on the Baillieu government's environmental record so far