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Solar, wind farms planned as Andrews powers on with renewable energy

By Benjamin Preiss / The Age / 11 September 2018

Victoria is forging ahead with six new renewable energy plants capable of powering 645,000 homes while the federal government has scrapped its policy to reduce power prices and greenhouse emissions.

On Tuesday the Andrews government announced the three new solar and three wind farms would produce 928 megawatts of power, reducing greenhouse emissions in the electricity sector by 16 per cent over the next 17 years.

The state government had invited private companies to bid to build the projects in a process known as a reverse auction.

It said the reverse auctions had helped it surpass its original goal of delivering 650 megawatts of renewable power.

Premier Daniel Andrews said a greater supply of renewable energy meant lower power prices for Victorian households.

“We’re making Victoria the capital of renewable energy and supporting the thousands of local jobs it creates,” he said.

The latest announcement on renewable energy stands in contrast to the federal government’s failed attempt to introduce a National Energy Guarantee that was supposed to lower prices and greenhouse emissions.

However, infighting over energy policy engulfed the federal government in the lead-up to Malcolm Turnbull’s knifing as prime minister. The policy was eventually scrapped.

Environment Victoria chief executive Mark Wakeham said the Victorian government should commit to 1000 megawatts of renewable energy annually over the coming four years.

A thousand megawatts would be the equivalent of powering 700,000 homes.

“We would like whoever wins government to commit to a thousand megawatts a year,” Mr Wakeham said.

The government has committed to a renewable energy target of 25 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025.

However, the Coalition has said it would scrap the renewable energy target if it wins the November election.

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said Victorians deserve to know how much the latest round of renewable energy projects had cost.

Mr Guy said he supported renewable generation and maintained the future of coal-fired generation was “limited”.

“We need to have a mix in generation,” he said.


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