FUTURE Energy has abandoned its plan to build three wind turbines at Pykes Hill, just days after the government introduced sweeping changes to Victoria’s wind farm planning guidelines.Future Energy referred the project to VCAT last year, after the Moorabool Shire Council rejected its initial planning permit, arguing the company had not adequately assessed the risks to native fauna or considered the rights of nearby residents.Future Energy has spent more than three years developing the project, but yesterday managing director David Shapero said the company had scrapped the development because it did not comply with the new guidelines.Under the new planning rules, developers are prevented from building wind turbines within two kilometres of houses, effectively giving residents the right to veto wind farm developments.The three wind turbines at Pykes Hill would have been a minimum of one kilometre from the nearest homes, according to the project proposal.Mr Shapero said the guidelines would have no impact on large wind farms on large land areas, and would instead hurt smaller, community-based developments.“We are disappointed by the government’s attitude of a ‘one size fits all’ policy,” Mr Shapero said.“This is such a small wind farm – one turbine is not the same as 100.“It’s a danger to small projects, which are very popular.”Mr Shapero said Future Energy planned to take its renewable energy developments interstate. “We already have interest in other states and, essentially, it’s obvious that if one state becomes more difficult then the other states, comparatively, it becomes more attractive,” he said.On Monday, Planning Minister Matthew Guy told The Courier he did not believe the two kilometre set-back policy would stop developers investing in Victoria.
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