Coali­tion to scrap tar­get

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

Vic­to­rian op­po­si­tion leader Matthew Guy has de­clared that a Lib­er­al­na­tional coali­tion govern­ment would scrap a Vic­to­rian Re­new­able En­ergy Tar­get.

Mr Guy said the move, re­mov­ing an in­cen­tive driv­ing re­new­able-en­ergy de­vel­op­ment in the Wim­mera and Western District, was a ne­ces­sity to pre­vent Vic­to­ria from be­com­ing an im­porter in­stead of ex­porter of en­ergy in Aus­tralia.

He said as soon as coal-pow­ered Hazel­wood Power Sta­tion ceased en­ergy gen­er­a­tion in March, Vic­to­ria would need to buy elec­tric­ity from New South Wales and Tas­ma­nia.

“Pre­mier Daniel An­drews has set Vic­to­ria on the path to an en­ergy se­cu­rity cri­sis,” he said.

“Un­less we act, Vic­to­ria is bound to have reg­u­lar South Aus­tralian-style black­outs.

“A Lib­eral-na­tional govern­ment I lead will scrap this un­re­al­is­tic tar­get so Vic­to­ri­ans don’t have re­peated black-outs and higher elec­tric­ity prices.” In June last year the State Govern­ment set Vic­to­ria a tar­get to gen­er­ate a quar­ter of its elec­tric­ity through re­new­able en­ergy by 2020.

Plans were to lift the fig­ure to 40 per­cent by 2025.

Mr An­drews and En­ergy, En­vi­ron­ment and Cli­mate Change Min­is­ter Lily D’am­bro­sio an­nounced the tar­gets while mark­ing the arrival of the first tur­bine blades at Ararat Wind Farm – un­der con­struc­tion and al­ready gen­er­at­ing power.

The govern­ment pre­dic­tion was that by 2025, large-scale re­new­able en­ergy pro­duc­ers would pro­vide up to 5400 megawatts of power, rep­re­sent­ing an es­ti­mated $2.5-bil­lion in in­vest­ment in Vic­to­ria.

This would equate to 4000 ad­di­tional jobs in the re­new­able en­ergy sec­tor dur­ing an ex­pected peak year of con­struc­tion in 2024.

The plan also in­cludes a se­ries of power-sup­ply auc­tions for en­ergy sup­pli­ers and the govern­ment work­ing with the re­new­able-en­ergy in­dus­try, elec­tric­ity net­works and re­tail­ers, and con­sumer groups. Some wind-farm project lead­ers have at­trib­uted much of the ex­pan­sion of the in­dus­try in the re­gion to an en­cour­ag­ing fed­eral and state po­lit­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment.

Un­cer­tainty

This fol­lowed a pe­riod of un­cer­tainty sur­round­ing a Com­mon­wealth Re­new­able En­ergy Tar­get sub­sidi­s­a­tion scheme.

The un­cer­tainty stalled many projects Aus­tralia-wide, in­clud­ing the Wim­mera.

Con­fir­ma­tion the com­mon­wealth scheme would re­main in place af­ter un­der­go­ing par­lia­men­tary re­form in 2015 rekin­dled re­new­able-en­ergy project de­vel­op­ment.

Wind farms are op­er­a­tional in Ararat district, oth­ers are planned for Bul­gana near Great Western and Murra Warra be­tween Horsham and War­rackn­abeal, Ki­ata in west Wim­mera and Won­won­dah, south of Horsham.

But Mr Guy said af­ter Hazel­wood Power Sta­tion re­tired in March, pro­jec­tions were that power re­serves in Vic­to­ria would re­duce to 145 megawatts in sum­mer 2017-18 at times of peak de­mand.

“Im­ports from New South Wales or Tas­ma­nia will be re­quired to meet de­mand un­der these con­di­tions,” he said.

Na­tion­als Mem­ber for Lowan Emma Kealy said she ex­pected the re­new­able-en­ergy sec­tor to con­tinue to emerge in the re­gion with­out ‘un­re­al­is­tic and hap­haz­ard’ State Govern­ment tar­gets that had as much po­ten­tial to up­set en­ergy se­cu­rity as pro­mote fresh in­dus­try.

“Re­new­able en­ergy re­mains an im­por­tant part of the Vic­to­rian en­ergy equa­tion and, through sim­ple con­sumer de­mand, pri­vate in­dus­try will con­tinue to drive its de­vel­op­ment in our part of the world,” she said.

“There was sig­nif­i­cant in­ter­est from pri­vate com­pa­nies in­vest­ing in re­new­able en­ergy in the Wim­mera and Western District long be­fore the State Govern­ment’s Re­new­able En­ergy Tar­get, so there is no rea­son why that de­mand wouldn’t con­tinue with­out it.” SCHUBERTS PEST SER­VICES Ph: 5382 7484

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