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Victoria Increases Renewable Target to 95 Per Cent by 2035

Victoria’s Labor government has announced an increase in targets for clean energy and emission reduction. As confirmed by Premier Daniel Andrews in his election promise, Victoria is now set to meet its new 2030 renewables goal of 65 per cent, whilst the zero emissions target of the state will be brought to 2045 under the new plan. The announcement also noted that Victoria is aiming to source 95 per cent of its energy from renewables by 2035.

According to Andrews, “Big energy companies want to offshore profits—want to offshore wind. Renewable energy is the future; it’s good for our climate, good for lower power bills and good for jobs.” The Albanese and Andrews governments are partnering to fund renewable energy zones, offshore wind projects, and interconnectors. 

The agreement will boost regulatory processes supporting both governments’ promised offshore wind industry. 

In addition, the Victorian, Tasmanian, and commonwealth governments will take a 20 per cent joint equity stake in the Marinus link project, whilst the remaining 80 per cent will be funded through a concessional loan from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC). 

Five years ahead

The new targets put Victoria five years ahead of most of the rest of Australia and the world. 

To make these targets come to life, the Victorian government said that they would set up a state-owned energy company to support wind and solar construction. However, this is likely reliant on Andrews being re-elected in November.

According to Labor, it will invest around $20 million for the revival of the State Electricity Commission (SEC) to turn it into an energy market proponent. With this, the comission will play a crucial role in Victoria’s goal. 

The government will hold a “controlling interest in an initial rollout of 4.5GW of new zero emissions power generation,” which will be sufficient to replace Loy Yang A.

In addition, the SEC will replace all of the capacity of Loy Yang A with renewables projects, and Victorian taxpayers will have a 51 per cent ownership. On the other hand, the government is interested in super funds as its preferred investment part for the other 49 per cent. 

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The “most significant energy announcement”

Andrews described his announcement as the “most significant energy announcement” in Victoria for the last three decades. Renewable projects via the SEC would mean a third of Victoria’s energy would be owned by the public. 

“One power station is closing; many smaller power stations will take its place. Those power stations won’t be for profit, they’ll be for people. They’ll not be owned by a private company. They’ll be owned by everyone. Everyone will benefit from that,” Andrews said. 

A call for investors

With this announcement, Clean Energy Council’s chief executive Kane Thornton said that Victoria’s plans, it sends a strong message to investors that the state is willing to “deploy large amounts of new renewable energy generation and manage the phase-out of coal-fired generation.”

Coal plant workers: What will happen to them?

Victoria’s new renewable energy plans are impressive and worth looking forward to. However, Loy Yang B power station has some concerns that need to be addressed by the government. 

Loy Yang B is taking the necessary steps to transition, but they don’t have a clear understanding of how the government will manage the transition cost. There are also questions on how the government will protect communities and workers whilst supporting them to invest in replacement generation necessary to ensure Victoria has energy. The plant also expressed that its main priority is safeguarding its employees. 

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