Vic wind companies slam opposition leader

The companies say they have been singled out under Baillieu’s policy, announced earlier this month, which would ban wind farms – but no other developments – near homes.The advertisement in the Age yesterday, sponsored by Pacific Hydro, Acciona, AGL, Suzlon, Keppel Prince and Repower, says ”Mr Baillieu, please don’t send clean energy jobs and investment interstate!” A major focus in the Liberal leader’s policy states “no new turbines could be built within 2 kilometres of homes without the consent of the owners, and local councils would be given full control of the wind farm approval process”.Pacific Hydro executive manager Andrew Richards said the opposition policy would create a 13-square-kilometre exclusion zone around all homes for wind farms, a policy that would not apply to other infrastructure, including coal-fired power stations.“Why is the wind industry singled out on this? We feel as though we need to make a strong public statement on this so people are under no illusion about what it means,” he said.Wind farms would also be banned in national parks, tourist areas and growth corridors.The policy is supported by the Victorian Landscape Guardians, but has been criticised by the clean energy industry and the Municipal Association of Victoria.Baillieu has rejected suggestions his policy would kill the wind farm industry.Opposition amendments to RETMeanwhile, the federal opposition has floated amendments to proposed changes to Australia’s renewable energy target legislation in a bid to stop households generating renewable energy over and above the 20% target.The federal government is seeking to divide the renewable energy target – which ensures 20% of Australia’s energy comes from renewable sources by 2020 – between large and small-scale projects.While the large-scale side of the target would be capped, the government has left energy generated from household solar panels uncapped, meaning Australia’s renewable generation could exceed the 20% target in 2020.However, opposition energy spokesperson Ian Macfarlane and Nationals Senator Ron Boswell have expressed concerns about the divide. They have cited industry complaints that uncapped household renewable generation could cause higher electricity price rises than first thought.It is understood the opposition will defer its final position on the changes to the renewable energy target until after a Senate inquiry reports on June 10. Story courtesy EnvironmentalManagementNews.net

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