A report from the Weekly Times stated that the five farms being built and the 16 which still needs the approval to be fully operational will be more than double the current 18 wind farms in the state. One of the primary reasons for the boost in the construction of wind farms is the renewable energy target of 25 percent of Victoria’s power by 2020 and 40 percent by 2025 by the Victorian government.
According to the environment group Friends of the Earth (FoE), Liberal-held rural districts are the ones who will benefit the most from this renewable initiatives. Leigh Ewbank, the Spokesman for FoE, said, “Ripon, Polwarth, and South-West Coast are three Liberal electorates most likely to be the greatest beneficiaries of VRET.” He also added that the wind farm projects would generate job opportunities, pay rates, supply power to homes, and provide income to farmers.
In Ripon, four approved wind farms with over 300 turbines would yield nearly half a million dollars in rates to the local councils. Ewbank also confirmed that the wind farm projects have already created around 780 construction jobs.
He further added that the two more proposed wind farms, with a total of 93 turbines, in South-West Coast electorate would open 228 jobs in construction and pay over $180,000 in rates.
On the other hand, FoE’s analysis from Polwarth revealed four farms in different stages of approval with a total number of 486 turbines would make way for 1,367 jobs and more than $600,000 in local council rates.
However, Liberal Member for Western Victoria Simon Ramsay shoots down the VRET, claiming it would alter the landscape of Western Victoria forever. He said, “The once tranquil hinterlands and pastures of food production land will be churned into a setting mass of industrial machinery.”
But Energy and Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio stated, “Simon Ramsay needs to explain to the people of Western Victoria why he is against VRET when it will drive down power prices, bring on more supply, and create thousands of jobs in regional areas.”
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