Victoria will be set new renewable energy targets this week, which are hoped to create hundreds of construction jobs over the next two years.
Legislation to be introduced to Parliament will lay expectations for the state to drive up its renewable energy to 25 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025.
It’s the first time such ambitious targets have been enshrined in legislation anywhere in Australia.
Premier Daniel Andrews joined Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio to announce the introduction of legislation for Victorian Renewable Energy Targets (VRET).
The VRET will cut the average cost of power for Victorians by around $30 a year for households, $2,500 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.
An auction for up to 650MW of renewable energy capacity will provide enough electricity to power 389,000 households – 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 1,250 construction jobs over two years and 90 ongoing jobs.
“More renewable energy means more jobs for Victorians – that’s why we’re setting these ambitious targets and promoting investment in this growing sector,” 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 largest renewable energy auction in Australia will also award contracts for two large-scale solar plants to power Melbourne’s tram network.
Bannerton Solar Park, near Robinvale in the Sunraysia district, is expected to provide 100MW of solar powered electricity, while the Numurkah Solar Farm, near Shepparton, is expected to generate 38MW.
This will bring forward an additional investment of $198 million and generate around 325 jobs in regional Victoria during construction.
“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,” D’Ambrosio said.
“Government investment will be capped to ensure the best value for money for Victorian taxpayers.”