Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Victorian Wind Alliance to promote industry
9 Oct 2012

A NEW organisation aimed at building support for wind power in Victoria is set to launch tomorrow.

The Victorian Wind Alliance, made up of wind workers, landowners, environmental and community groups and anyone else who supports wind power, hopes to promote the wind power sector in the face of a halt in wind farm developments.

"The premise is that the majority of Victorians and the majority of Australians support the development of renewable energy", Friends of the Earth campaigns co-ordinator Cam Walker said. "Here in Victoria, the government has largely stalled action on renewable energy. "We want to create a community movement that allows the silent majority to express that support".

It was revealed in July that planning laws introduced by the Victorian Government in August last year had resulted in no new applications to build wind farms in the state. The guidelines prohibit wind farm developers building turbines within 2km of a home without the owner's written consent. A number of "no-go zones" were also declared in Victoria.

This was despite more than 75% of regional and city dwellers pledging their support for wind farms in a Clean Energy Council survey in June. Around 1200 people were quizzed across Victoria, NSW and South Australia. The Victorian Wind Alliance will release a wind power 'pledge' tomorrow and launch a website where people can register their support. Mr Walker said "several hundred people" had already expressed interest in joining the alliance.

The Friends of the Earth member said harnessing the wind to provide clean energy would have many benefits for Victoria, environmentally and financially. "When wind farms are built in Victoria, they are worth around $16 million for landowners (per year)", Mr Walker said. "When all wind farms are built they generate $4.5 million a year for Victorian local councils. "Hundreds of people are also employed directly when wind farms are built".