Wind energy has the potential to provide a significant proportion of Victoria's growth in renewable energy generation over the next coming years. The Government supports the development of wind energy in appropriate locations.
Victoria currently has approximately 949MW of operating wind power generation.
Victoria has a significant number of areas where favourable wind conditions exist and future wind energy facilities may still be considered in these locations. Planning permits currently exist for almost 400 wind turbines in Victoria which are yet to be constructed. These permits are in addition to more than 450 wind turbines already in operation and a further 586 turbines under construction.
Victoria has world-class wind resources and the technology to harvest energy from wind is well-proven and is being widely used around the world to provide reliable supplies of energy.
The Victorian Wind Atlas provides detailed information about the State's wind resource in individual local government areas. It contains data and analysis about the wind resource in Victoria, proximity to electricity transmission systems.
Research shows that the production of electricity from wind results in less burning of fossil fuels. Each megawatt hour of wind energy generated in Victoria currently avoids the generation, on average, of one tonne of greenhouse gas emissions. A typical two megawatt wind turbine in Victoria will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 6,000 tonnes per year.
Despite the benefits, wind farms may have local amenity impacts that have raised concerns among those in surrounding communities. A 2010 Public Statement by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) reported there is currently insufficient published scientific evidence to positively link wind turbines with adverse health effects. Visit the NHMRC website
The Victorian Deparment of Health has also developed two information booklets on wind farms, relating to sound and health. The booklets can be downloaded from the Victorian Health website
The Victorian Government has produced the policy and planning guidelines for the development of wind energy facilities in Victoria to ensure that future planning to expand Victoria's wind resource considers the environmental, economic and social impacts.
The changes to wind farm planning provisions, introduced by way of the Planning Scheme Amendment VC82, make it clear where in Victoria a wind energy facility may be considered. The planning reform guarantees the residents of rural and regional Victoria certainty and fairness in wind farm planning decisions and ensures that communities are given a say in major planning applications.
The Guidelines provide a clear decision making framework to ensure that proposals for wind energy facilities are thoroughly assessed against criteria important to both proponents and the community before development can commence.
Further details regarding specifics of the Government's policy are available from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website. You can also read the updated wind energy facility guidelines.