Gippsland South The Nationals Energy Danny O'Brien Overhead transmission lines renewable energy Zone renewable energy

Answers needed on Gippsland Renewable Energy Zone

The Andrews Labor Government has been called upon to explain what is proposed with its new Gippsland Renewable Energy Zone and the impacts – both positive and negative – on the local community.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien said that while there are great opportunities for renewable energy in the region, the Government’s announcement has raised more questions than answers and has initiated a level of concern among some local landholders.

Speaking in State Parliament, Mr O’Brien said that while there was general support for renewable energy developments, the Government needed to do better to explain its plans.

“The Government made a $540 million announcement in the budget last year but gave no indication that its Renewable Energy Zones included things like a proposed 500kv transmission line running from the Latrobe valley to the Giffard area,” Mr O’Brien said.

“We now have a level of concern in that district about a proposed 500MW solar farm which would no doubt link in to that transmission line.

“The issue is that even if the community accepts that proposal, we don’t know how many other solar or wind farms might be coming to the area and what exactly the Government has in mind.

“So far it has just one page in a document that talks about this new overhead transmission line but gives no real indication of what it’s intended to service and what the Government’s intentions will be for land use in the area.”

Mr O’Brien said he has always given in principle support to the proposed Gippsland Renewable Energy Park, which would become Victoria’s largest solar farm, but he understood that there are concerns among local landholders.

“I helped facilitate a public consultation between the proponent Solis RE and locals a few weeks ago and it is clear that many people have concerns.

“These are only exacerbated by the Government’s Renewable Energy Zone plans which so far amount to not much more than a headline in a media release.

“Managing the transition towards renewable energy will be critical and the Government needs to ensure that it doesn’t sacrifice Gippslanders or Gippsland landholders as it chases positive headlines in the city.

“I’ve called on the Minister to come to Gippsland to explain what is exactly meant by these zones, what the benefits will be for Gippsland, and what the cost might be for local communities.”

The Minister has 30 days to respond to Mr O’Brien’s questions.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien, is calling on the State Government to better explain its plans for transmission lines and renewable energy developments in the region.

 

8 June 2021

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