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The Victorian Government has launched the Community Renewable Energy Projects Discussion Paper to give Victorians a say on the future of local renewable energy projects in the state.

Feedback from the community will help guide the Victorian Government’s rejuvenation of the renewable energy industry for projects and open the door for wind farms.

The discussion paper will also examine whether the current payment-in-lieu-of-rates methodology for power stations adequately meets the needs of small-scale renewable energy projects, and if not, what changes need to be made. 

Minister for Planning Richard Wynne said, “We encourage community renewable energy projects, because this is about communities taking ownership of climate change in a very practical way.

“We’re making sure the planning system supports a healthier and cleaner future for all Victorians.”

The planning system currently considers all wind farm facilities according to the same criteria, which restricts community wind farm projects from being developed in areas such as the Macedon Ranges.

Many communities are coming up with plans and proposals to make renewable energy part of their everyday life.

Member for Macedon Mary-Anne Thomas said, “Woodend locals are keen to develop their community wind farm, which is currently prohibited. We want wind farms in the Macedon Ranges and this discussion paper is seeking input into how we best achieve this.”

The Victorian Government is working towards more sustainable energy generation and use, with the Renewable Energy Target of 25 per cent by 2020, and 40 per cent by 2025. 

The targets will bring forward an estimated $2.5 billion of investment and create an additional 4000 jobs in Victoria’s renewable energy sector at the peak of construction.

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said, “We’ve set strong renewable energy targets and want Victoria to be carbon neutral by 2050. Local community led clean energy projects will be critical in helping us deliver on our ambitious agenda.”

Consultation is now open for community and stakeholder feedback until 28 November 2016.

Lauren brings a fresh approach to content. While she’s previously written for publications as diverse as Australian Geographic, The Border Watch and Girlfriend, she’s found her true passion in her current role as an editor in the world of energy and infrastructure trade magazines.

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