New Victorian wind farm rules create an uncertain environment for all infrastructure investors

29 August 2011

Pacific Hydro acknowledges the release of the Victorian Government’s Planning Amendment VC82 related to wind farm developments and remain concerned about the precedent it will set for all infrastructure development in the state.

Speaking today about the amendment to Victorian Planning Provisions, Pacific Hydro General Manager Australia Mr Lane Crockett said,

“We are concerned that the Baillieu Government has yet to properly identify the issue or problem that they are trying to solve. We accept their right to honour their election promise; however, thus far they have not clearly articulated the rationale or identified any independent analysis that underpins these changes to the planning scheme announced today. To that end, we call on the Premier and the Planning Minister to release their full policy rationale and analysis which was relied on for this change.”

“In our view these changes send a disturbing signal to other infrastructure projects and investment in the State. In the context of planning policy requirements for consistency and fairness, these rules should apply to all infrastructure developments not just one industry.”

As part of their election commitment the Victorian Government promised to not retrospectively apply these rules to existing planning approvals and provided a transitional period until March 2012 to seek extension to existing approvals.

“We understand that the Victorian Government intends to honour their promise that they will not interfere in existing approved projects, we appreciate this promise which will allow for some investment to occur.”

“Pacific Hydro remains committed to our existing approved projects in Victoria and fully intend to proceed with our three current projects at Portland (PWEP IV), Crowlands and Yaloak South.”

“These projects will account for up to 209MW installed capacity and drive around $530 million in investment for regional Victoria.”

“However, under the new guidelines, Pacific Hydro does not envisage pursuing any new project development in Victoria,” said Mr Crockett.

Clean Energy Council figures suggest that these changes will reduce investment in Victoria by over $3 billion.

“The race for investment in renewable energy and regional job creation is heating up, unfortunately these new wind farm rules will hold Victoria back while other states power ahead.”