Ararat’s wind farm success taken to nation’s capital

Friends of the Earth’s Shaun Murray and Leigh Ewbank take the RET Road Trip
findings to Parliament House, Canberra.

Friends of the Earth’s Shaun Murray and Leigh Ewbank take the RET Road Trip findings to Parliament House, Canberra.

ARARAT - Friends of the Earth visited Ararat in April as part of its fact-finding Renewable Energy Target Road Trip.

Policy uncertainty is stalling a multi-million dollar wind farm project in the region.

Over the course of two months, the RET Road Trip visited eight communities to get a real understanding of the impacts of energy policy.

"We've travelled over two thousand kilometres to speak with communities who have benefitted from renewable energy or have been affected by fossil fuel pollution," said Leigh Ewbank of Friends of the Earth.

"We took the renewable energy success story of Ararat to the Parliament and warned politicians that a weakened Renewable Energy Target would prevent new wind farms from being built in the region.

"The Renewable Energy Target has created jobs and investment in Ararat. Mayors Paul Hooper and Kevin Erwin want the target left alone so shovel-ready projects can get underway."

The Friends of the Earth presented the research findings in Parliament House, Canberra.

The research offers a counterpoint to the Dick Warburton review of the Renewable Energy Target that was initiated by the Abbott government.

Mr Ewbank said the Friends of the Earth's RET Road Trip found no public confidence in the Dick Warburton review.

"We've heard directly from community members that the Warburton review of the Renewable Energy Target lacks credibility. The review has been referred to as 'ideologically driven' and a 'witch hunt.' For many in the community, this review lacks public confidence," said Leigh Ewbank.

The 41-terawatt-hour Renewable Energy Target has created 30,000 jobs and $18 billion worth of investment in Australia. Modelling shows 18,400 jobs and $14.5 billion investment will be lost if the target is weakened.

"When it comes to a Australia's energy future, the communities we spoke with want more renewable energy. They want politicians to support the existing 41-terawatt-hour Renewable Energy Target," Mr Ewbank said.

"The Warburton Review of the Renewable Energy Target is not credible. The Abbott government will be out of step with the community if it takes the Warburton review seriously."

Friends of the Earth will send its research findings to the Climate Change Authority and inquire about the status of the legally mandated review the CCA must complete by December 1, 2014.

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