Support rally for Portland wind project

Some 800 people took to the streets of Portland, Victoria, at the beginning of October to show their support for wind energy and Pacific Hydro's Portland wind project. The rally took place just a few weeks after an anti-wind protest (Windpower Monthly, October 2003) and was organised by the Portland Progress Association (PPA). The turnout for the demonstration illustrates the enormous community support for "responsibly developed wind energy despite recent attacks on wind energy by the Victorian opposition parties," says PPA. "We are incredulous that the state opposition wants to put a moratorium on wind energy developments at a time when the industry is set to take off," adds the association's Brenton Goldsworthy. "Victoria and other states have planning processes that ensure wind farms will only be built in the right place, so we can either choose to keep burning coal or we can accept new clean ways of generating electricity. We want to make Portland Australia's renewable hub." Pacific Hydro's Andrew Richards says the company is not surprised by the show of support. "We have spent over three years consulting with the community and have 3500 signatures on a petition supporting the Portland Wind Project presented to parliament last year." Bill Shorten of the Australian Workers Union adds: "People say wind farms damage property values, but that's exactly what happens if there's no industry."

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