Victoria introduces renewable energy target legislation

The Victorian Government has today announced it would introduce legislation for a state renewable energy target in parliament this week.

Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said ambitious new renewable energy targets would be set for Victoria of 25 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025.

It’s the first time such ambitious renewable energy targets have been enshrined in legislation anywhere in Australia.

“More renewable energy means more jobs for Victorians – that’s why we’re setting these ambitious targets and promoting investment in this growing sector,” Premier Andrews said.

“Renewable energy creates jobs, drives growth, and protects our environment – and most importantly, helps drive down power prices for Victorian households and businesses.”

The VRET is expected to cut the average cost of power for Victorians by around $30 a year for households, $2500 a year for medium businesses and $140,000 a year for large companies.

The government also announced it would hold the largest renewable energy auction in Australia.

The competitive VRET auction for up to 650MW of renewable energy capacity would provide enough electricity to power 389,000 households – or enough energy to power Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and the Latrobe Valley combined.

This first auction is expected to bring forward up to $1.3 billion of investment and create 1250 construction jobs over two years and 90 ongoing jobs.

“The renewable energy sector will now have the confidence to invest in renewable energy projects and the jobs that are crucial to Victoria’s future,” Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said.

“Government investment will be capped to ensure the best value for money for Victorian taxpayers.”

Australian Energy Council chief executive Matthew Warren said Victoria’s renewable energy auctions and legislative target should be part of a national approach to effectively lower emissions generation.

“In his recent report to the Federal Government, chief scientist Dr Alan Finkel called for a move away from technology specific targets to deliver the energy transformation as quickly as possible, at the lowest cost while maintaining reliable energy supply,” Mr Warren said.

“Victoria’s electricity system is interconnected to other states as part of a national grid. Decisions made here affect other states.

“That’s why major policy measures to reduce emissions should be implemented at a national level.

“Australia has had a bi-partisan national renewable energy target in place since 2009.

“Despite the best efforts of all stakeholders, we have seen that targets alone struggle to deliver the efficient and reliable transformation of energy supply.”