Labor Pledges $200K For Victoria’s First 100% Solar Town

Victoria - Solar Town

If elected, an Andrews Labor Government has committed to make Newstead in Victoria the state’s first ‘Solar Town’.

Shadow Minister for Energy and Resources, Lily D’Ambrosio and Labor Member for Bendigo West, Maree Edwards, announced Labor will provide a grant of $200,000 to community group Newstead 2021, to be used to create a master plan to convert the entire town (around 150 residences, plus businesses) to run on renewable energy by 2017.

The town will use solar power and energy storage systems to achieve their goal.

“Having been ignored for four years, Labor will work with the community in Newstead to help them achieve their goal of moving to renewable energy by 2017,” said  Ms D’Ambrosio.

“Newstead will be a leading example of what can be achieved when locals and government work together…Not only will the residents in Newstead reduce their reliance on coal fired power and cut their carbon footprint, they will be driving down household costs through cheaper energy bills.”

Labor says it will also ensure small renewable energy projects have fair access to the existing grid and distribution businesses are more responsive to distributed energy proposals, plus energy retailers will not be able to discriminate against rooftop solar customers by charging extra supply fees.

Last week, Victorian Labor also announced it would assist the wind energy industry in the state to get back on track.

“Labor will wind back the restrictive planning controls the Liberals implemented in 2011, which have stopped dozens of wind farm projects, cost thousands of jobs and driven investment interstate,” says a press release.

The announcement was welcomed by the Clean Energy Council.

“The small changes proposed by Labor could potentially unlock thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of investment that Victoria stands to gain under the federal Renewable Energy Target (RET) – as long as a strong policy outcome is negotiated at the federal level,” said CEC acting CEO Kane Thornton.

Victorian Labor says it will also channel $20 million into a New Energy Jobs Fund that will provide grants of up to $1 million to firms and companies specialising in new renewable energy generation and storage technologies.

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