Renewable target in crosshairs

State Opposition plans to scrap the Victorian Renewable Energy Target have drawn a strong rebuke from environmental groups and the government.

Opposition leader Matthew Guy on Monday pledged if the Coalition won the next election he would scrap the Andrews government’s target of generating 25 per cent of Victoria’s energy by renewables by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2040.

In a statement, Mr Guy accused the State Government of putting Victoria “on the path to an energy security crisis” and “South Australian-style blackouts”.

His comments caused Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio to accuse the Opposition leader of a “cynical attempt… to fit into Malcolm Turnbull’s agenda”.

The Department of Land Water and Planning has forecast the target will create up to 11,000 two-year construction jobs over the life of the scheme.

Ms D’Ambrosio said Mr Guy’s proposal would put those jobs at risk.

“What he’s effectively saying is he’s going to scrap 11,000 new jobs for regional Victoria,” she said.

“Eleven thousand jobs is 11,000 families who are able to pay their bills, keep food on the table and have a good life.”

The department expects the scheme to generate about $2.5 billion in direct investment in Victoria.

State Member for Morwell Russell Northe said a national target was required.

“Using the South Australia example, all it’s done in that state is cost thousands of jobs, increased electricity prices through the roof and threatened security of supply,” Mr Northe said.

“If you are going to have a Renewable Energy Target, surely it’s better to do it from a national perspective rather than having different states having completely different policies and completely different targets, especially when you work in a national market.”

But Environment Victoria campaigns director Nick Aberle disagreed with that assessment.

“They’re saying on the one hand that it’s the job of Federal Government to deal with this,” Dr Aberle said.

“But the Federal Government has been completely missing in action on climate policy for the past four years.”