FRIENDS of the Earth (FoE) is hoping to form a broad community alliance to restore the momentum for wind energy in the south-west.
FoE Yes 2 Renewables community co-ordinator Leigh Ewbank said it was meeting with Moyne Shire Council, wind energy companies, turbine manufacturers and community members to form the alliance to try to overcome obstacles that had deflated interest in wind energy in Victoria.
In an address at Deakin University’s Warrnambool campus yesterday, Mr Ewbank said the state government’s decision to give residents the power to veto proposals for wind turbines within two kilometres of their homes had sapped the momentum for wind energy.
Mr Ewbank said only one wind farm had been approved in Victoria since the veto power was introduced last year. Wind energy companies were withdrawing their proposals in Victoria because the new planning process was too problematic, he said.
The Australian Electricity Market Operator estimated Victoria had missed out on 700 megawatts of wind power since the planning amendments had been introduced, Mr Ewbank said.
The 140-turbine Macarthur wind farm will produce about 420 megawatts.
Mr Ewbank said the veto power given to residents near wind turbines had unfairly weighted the planning process in favour of individuals rather than the broader community.
“We need to think about the big picture,” he said.
“The problem of climate change is such that we need to eliminate coal and other fossil fuels as fast as possible.
“We are facing drought and other problems.”
He cited a study by the University of Melbourne Law School that found the amendments were ill-equipped to resolve competing local, state and national interests.