O'Farrell to decimate wind industry - NSW to miss out on $3 billion opportunity

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The O'Farrell Government's plan to set a two kilometre exclusion zone between homes and wind turbines will decimate the wind industry and see NSW miss out on $3 billion in investment opportunities, Shadow Energy Minister, Luke Foley said today.

"The O'Farrell Government's decision to enforce the 'most stringent' restrictions on NSW wind farms will effectively shut down the wind industry in NSW," Mr Foley said.

"The Premier has let a $3 billion opportunity slip through his fingers with this policy, as well as countless jobs and investment in regional NSW.

"Victoria has already seen the industry pack up and leave the State after their restrictive policy was implemented and we will risk the same loss of jobs and investment here in NSW.

"NSW has a 20 per cent Renewable Energy Target and wind is the cheapest form of large scale renewable energy to help meet this goal.

"With the O'Farrell Government's attack on solar power and now wind farms, NSW has almost no hope of reaching the 20 per cent renewable energy target.

"The wind industry in NSW has great potential, with wind speeds comparable to northern Europe where a large proportion of international wind generation currently occurs.

"NSW has the potential to generate 3,000 megawatts of wind energy. About 150 megawatts are currently installed or in the pipeline.

"Instead of shutting down the wind industry, the O'Farrell Government should have required its own Planning Review to come up with a sensible and workable planning regime for the development of the wind industry in NSW."

Mr Foley also condemned the Greens Party for their role in the development of the two kilometre restriction policy.

"The Greens led a 2009 Legislative Council inquiry into rural wind farms which called for the implementation of a minimum setback of two kilometres," Mr Foley said.

"The Labor Members of the committee wrote a dissenting report from the committee findings, rejecting mandatory setbacks.

"Labor is the only party in the NSW Parliament that has consistently supported the development of the wind industry in this State."