The construction company behind Victoria’s newest wind farm near Ballarat and the community-owned Hepburn wind farm has welcomed the Victorian Opposition’s support for wind farms at a time when they are facing federal attack.
A revised planning policy that reduces the buffer distance between houses and wind turbines from 2 km to 1 km will encourage greater investment while protecting amenity for residents, said Senvion Australia’s chief executive officer, Chris Judd.
“We welcome the Victorian Opposition’s changes to planning laws that could open up more jobs and investment in the wind industry – but what we really need now is the backing of a strong Renewable Energy Target (RET),” Mr Judd said.
The $260 million Mt Mercer project, south of Ballarat, has employed more than 300 people during peak construction and has created 17 ongoing jobs for the life of the wind farm.
Final testing of the 64 wind turbines installed at Mt Mercer is now complete, showing Victoria’s newest wind farm is now producing more than enough power for every household in a city the size of Ballarat – with a population of 100,000.
“Mt Mercer is a wonderful example of what Victoria needs more of – investment in clean energy that brings jobs to regional towns and puts downward pressure on everyone’s power bills,” Mr Judd said.
Senvion Australia, part of the Suzlon group, began designing and building wind farms in Australia 12 years ago, and has since invested more than $2.5 billion into Australian businesses for sub-contracting and supply scopes of work across 18 wind farms in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.
Mr Judd urged the Federal Government to get real about the benefits of renewables.
“We know that Australians want more renewable energy, not less. So it makes no sense for the federal Coalition to want to abandon a legally binding Renewable Energy Target requiring 41,000 gigawatt-hours of renewable energy by 2020,” he said.
The federal Coalition supported the legislated target prior to its election, but has since called for it to be slashed to 26,000 gigawatt-hours.
“This would kill off the renewables industry, cost jobs in regional areas and push up power prices by taking away competition from coal,” Mr Judd said.
More jobs in the wind for Victoria (PDF; 52kByte)