Coalition to scrap target
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.
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