Published by the Geelong Advertiser.
Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula have played a pioneering role when it comes to wind energy in Australia.
25-years ago this month, the blades of Victoria’s first wind turbine started spinning in Breamlea—transforming the steady sea winds into clean electricity for Victorians.
The State Electricity Commission built the Breamlea turbine in 1987 to demonstrate the viability of wind energy in Victoria. We now know the SEC was onto something.
Today there are nine operating wind farms in Victoria. These farms tap the state’s vast wind energy resource to power tens of thousands of homes and businesses without the adverse health and environmental impacts caused by fossil fuels.
Unfortunately the blossoming wind energy sector came to an abrupt halt last year when the Baillieu government introduced heavy-handed planning laws that unfairly targeted wind farms.
The VC-82 amendment to the Victorian planning scheme, effectively bans wind farms from large swathes of Victoria and allow just one objector to veto wind turbine within 2 kilometres.
Meanwhile, no such restrictions apply to coal and coal-seam gas exploration and development. A local example many will be aware of is in Anglesea, where residents have no say over the coalmine and power plant less than 2 kilometres from their town.
Thanks to Premier Baillieu and his Coalition colleagues, Victoria is no longer the place to be for wind energy. Not one single wind farm has been approved in over a year—costing the state thousands of jobs, billions of dollars worth of investment and one of the best tools available for community action on climate change.