Victoria has become the first state in Australia to introduce legislation for its renewable energy targets.
The Renewable Energy (Jobs and Investment) Bill 2017, which was passed in parliament on Friday, enshrines ambitious new renewable energy targets for Victoria of 25 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025 in law.
“This is a historic day and I’d like to thank all of the community campaigners who’ve been such passionate advocates for this important legislation,” state Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said.
“Renewable energy creates jobs and will help drive down power prices for Victorian households and businesses.
“These legislated targets remain the one constant for renewable energy investor confidence in Australia and the message is clear — Victoria is open for business.”
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, while driving a 16 per cent reduction in Victoria’s electricity sector greenhouse gas emissions by 2034-35.
The state government announced the VRET in August, along with news 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.
Clean Energy Council chief executive Kane Thornton said the VRET legislation would provide major investment opportunities for the state into the next decade.
“The Victorian government has clearly demonstrated its commitment to unlocking the jobs of the future for residents of the state,” he said.
“The VRET provides a green light for our industry to deliver cheap, clean and reliable energy for all Victorians.
“The easiest way to reduce power prices is through clear policy and more power generation.”