Victorian Premier signals shift on wind energy

10 April 2013


Friends of the Earth welcomes the Victorian Premier’s official endorsement of the Macarthur wind farm today. Premier Napthine’s attendance at the opening of Australia’s largest wind farm signals a shift on wind energy.

“We welcome the new Premier’s enthusiasm for wind farms,” said Leigh Ewbank, renewables campaigner for Friends of the Earth. “We hope his endorsement of one of Australia’s largest wind farms heralds a shift from his predecessors regressive stance on wind farms.”

In 2011, Premier Ted Baillieu amended the Victorian planning scheme to ban wind farms across large swaths of the state. The laws (called VC82) have stalled the rollout of wind energy, which is now the cheapest new built electricity generation.  

“Not one new wind farm has been approved since the Coalition has come to power,” said Mr Ewbank. “Yet given that wind energy has benefited Dr Napthine more than any other politician in the state, there’s hope the Coalition will now adopt a more progressive policy.”

“Two-thirds of the state’s wind turbines are located in his electorate, as is Keppel Prince Engineering—a national leader in wind turbine tower manufacturing. The Premier has witnessed the jobs opportunities and regional investment of wind farms and is ideally placed to help spread these benefits to other parts of the state by re-writing VC82 ”

The Premier’s endorsement of wind energy comes amid a recent increase in public concern about climate change.

“Community concern about climate change is on the rise after the record-breaking heat waves endured  by Victorians in 2013. Polling shows that making renewable energy affordable is seen as the most effective way to address the climate change challenge,” Mr Ewbank said.

“Friends of the Earth encourage the Premier, and all Victorian politicians, to support critical renewable energy projects. We look forward to the announcement of tangible steps towards meeting the state’s goal of generating 5 percent of our electricity needs from solar power by 2020. A commitment in the May Budget towards a large scale solar project would prove the government intends to act on this election promise” said Ewbank.

Media Contact:  
Leigh Ewbank, Yes 2 Renewables spokesperson - 0406 316 176
Cam Walker, Friends of the Earth campaigns coordinator - 0419 338 047