Victoria sets 'ambitious' targets

AUSTRALIA: The Victoria government has announced "ambitious" renewable energy targets (RET) in a bid to restore investors' confidence, lost by the federal government's indecision last year.

AGL Energy's 420MW Macarthur project is the largest wind farm in Victoria, Australia
AGL Energy's 420MW Macarthur project is the largest wind farm in Victoria, Australia

Victoria is targeting a 25% renewable energy target by 2020, rising to 40% by 2025, the state government said. Currently, Victoria sources 14% of its electricity from renewables.

Approximately 5.4GW of renewable energy projects will be built in Victoria by 2025, requiring A$2.5 billion ($1.8 billion) of investment, the government said.

To achieve this, the state government will run technology-neutral energy auctions in a bid to secure the lowest-cost providers.

Victoria is set to issue a Renewable Energy Action plan later this year in an attempt to restart the renewables industry, which has stalled since the cut to the federal RET last year, after 18 months of indecision.

In June 2015, Australia's parliament approved legislation cutting the federal RET support from 41TWh to 33TWh. This followed a review to the support system and a fierce battle between political parties that all but dried up renewable energy investment in Australia.

"By making our scheme complementary to the Commonwealth's Renewable Energy Target we are saving the RET. Investors have lost faith in the national target, but we are restoring the confidence needed to invest," said the Victoria state government's energy minister, Lily D'Ambrosio.

Last year, Victoria issued a renewable energy roadmap to help encourage investment. The state government also halved the minimum distance between residential properties and wind projects to one kilometre. Turbines within the one-kilometre zone require landowner approval.

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