South Australia planning reforms welcomed by wind industry

20 October 2011

Leading Australian renewable energy company, Pacific Hydro welcomed the South Australian Government’s planning reforms for wind farms and new renewable energy plan announced on 19 October.

“South Australia is showing clear leadership on renewable energy and investment through the planning reforms announced today,” said Pacific Hydro General Manager, Australia, Mr Lane Crockett.

“South Australia is already powering ahead with over 21% of the energy now coming from renewables. The State’s goal to reach 33% renewables by 2020, clearly positions the region at the forefront in the race to lower carbon emissions and to transform the energy industry,” said Mr Crockett.

“These reforms and the new renewable energy plan for South Australia will increase certainty for investors, the community and local councils and ensure that South Australia takes advantage of a strong policy environment through the Renewable Energy Target and the carbon price package,” he said.

Contrasting with Victoria’s recent changes to planning and zones on wind farms, the South Australian policy is designed to increase certainty while ensuring high value wind resources can be developed.

The distance that is set for visual amenity under these changes is broadly consistent with the existing practice, and does not diminish the potential for developers and landholders to agree a lesser distance. Further, the visual amenity changes do not devalue the existing merit based assessment process for noise or shadow flicker.

“The new arrangements achieve a balanced outcome for developers and local communities and remove the uncertainty over the definition or treatment of visual amenity,” said Mr Crockett.

“This is an important element for companies looking to develop wind farms and the new arrangements will help  ensure investors are provided certainty and, importantly, will see local government taking a stronger role in assessments for their own region which ensures strong local participation,” he said.

Investment in renewable energy provides many opportunities in regional areas and increased investor certainty in South Australia will ensure that the State’s high value resources deliver clean energy investment benefits and drive jobs growth.

“The policy changes announced today provide positive signals for our South Australian projects currently in development and will ensure that South Australia is well-ahead in the race for clean energy investment projects,” he said.