Victoria government calls for state scheme

AUSTRALIA: Victoria state has called on the federal government to remove a clause preventing states from creating schemes similar to the country's Renewable Energy Target (RET).

AGL Energy's 420MW Macarthur wind park in Victoria, Australia
AGL Energy's 420MW Macarthur wind park in Victoria, Australia

The south east state's current Andrews Labour government is seeking the removal of section 7c of the current Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000. This would allow the state premier to reintroduce the Victoria Renewable Energy Target (VRET), designed to top up the national RET.

The VRET was removed when the RET was introduced in 2009.

Last week, Tony Abbott's federal government agreed to scale down the RET, from a target of 45TWh from renewable energy sources by 2020, to 33TWh. It had initially aimed to cut it to 32TWh.

In April, the Labor party said it would compromise at 33.5TWh, following a recommendation by the Clean Energy Council (CEC) trade body.

Victoria's minister for energy, Lily D'Ambrosio said: "The federal government must move out of Victoria's way and change the law. Our state needs a proper renewable energy target."

Uncertainty over the future of the RET target, following a review late last year, has all but dried up the country's wind energy pipeline. No new wind projects are expected to start construction this year.

The CEC claims investment in renewable energy has fallen 88% since the government set up the review.

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