The Victorian Government has announced it will be investigating interest in renewables to help economic recovery.
Minister for Energy, the Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio announced the start of a market sounding process that will test industry interest and capacity for new solar, wind and other renewable energy projects in the state.
The process will also explore the potential for electricity-reliant industries and businesses to buy renewable energy along with government through this process.
But, the Energy Users Association of Australia (EUAA) has voiced concerns over Victoria integrating large volumes of renewable energy into a system “already showing signs of stress”.
In 2017, the Victorian Government sought 650 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy through the Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET) Auction.
Related article: 50% expansion of Hornsdale complete
The VRET auction exceeded this ambitious target, delivering 928 MW of renewable energy–boosting supply, putting downward pressure on power prices, and supporting 1500 jobs and opportunities for local businesses across the state, particularly in regional Victoria.
The market sounding process will test the capacity of industry to deliver at least a further 600 MW of renewable energy – enough to power every hospital and school in Victoria, Melbourne’s train network and a range of other Government infrastructure and services.
It represents the next step in Victoria’s plans to continue to drive significant investment in Renewable Energy Zones, with more support to come to expedite and streamline grid connections.
Related article: Butler and Taylor butt heads over gas
Victoria is on track to meet its legislated 2020 renewable energy target of 25 per cent and procuring new generation will make a significant contribution to meeting the 2025 target of 40 per cent renewable energy, and the legislated target of net-zero emissions by 2050.
EUAA CEO Andrew Richards said renewable energy is already a significant part of the Australian energy landscape and it is set to dominate new investment for many years to come, but this raises new challenges that must be addressed.
“The warning signs are there that our energy system is under stress,” Mr Richards said.
“The EUAA ask that governments and the energy industry heed these warnings and develop a cohesive plan for the energy transition that requires new generation to be more ‘fit-for-purpose’, and that the costs and risks of the energy transition be shared more equitably.”
For more information, and to get involved in the market sounding process, visit energy.vic.gov.au/VRET2.