Vic gets real on RET

THERE has been no resistance to a proposed Victorian Renewable Energy Target from the Latrobe Valley’s power industry, according to the State Energy and Resources Minister.

Lily D’Ambrosio has called on the Federal Government to remove a section of Renewable Energy Act 2000, which prevents state governments from introducing their own schemes.

The minister said the government was committed to consulting with industry on what the target would be, but sought to lift renewable energy share of Victorian power generation mix to about 20 per cent by 2020.

She said she believed many businesses in the industry saw renewable projects as a clean, affordable way of the future.

“I’ve met with business associations that understand the importance of renewable energy in its role and its capability of attracting billions of dollars in investment and see it as a positive for Victoria’s economy,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

The minister said regional communities like the Latrobe Valley, Anglesea and northern Victoria were undergoing transition into new types of industries, and the government was committed to assisting with particular challenges.

“It’s about identifying industries that will allow the local economy to diversify, seek investment and find jobs growth,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

Yallourn Power Station operator EnergyAustralia said it supported renewable energy.

“We think it’s about getting the balance right in the projects we do and the measures in place to encourage renewables, such as the RET,” the spokesperson said.

“EnergyAustralia is investing in alternative sources of supply. In particular we have invested $1 billion in renewable energy, to cost-effectively address emissions.”

Environment Victoria chief executive Mark Wakeham said he was encouraged by the VRET in the absence of Federal Government leadership on the issue.

He said while Latrobe Valley generators wanted a national RET instead of state approach, they had also worked to undermine the national approach.

“In the past they’ve opposed state action, but for the past three years, they’ve undermined national action. They deserve whatever they get in terms of policy at a state level.”

He said the State Government and local council could be thinking about how to start getting clean energy jobs in the Latrobe Valley and Gippsland.

“There may not be big wind farms in the Latrobe Valley, but there are houses that could be retrofitted, creating economic activity and save households and businesses on energy bills,” Mr Wakeham said.