The Victorian government has made some positive signals towards renewables, announcing at Keppel Prince Engineering in Portland on Friday it would buy 100 megawatts worth of renewable energy certificates (RECs) from new-build projects in the state.
This purchase would allow the construction of the equivalent of 35-50 wind turbines and create $200 million of spending, Premier Daniel Andrews told a hopeful audience at Keppel Prince Engineering in Portland, south-west Victoria.
It would also be cost-neutral, as the purchases are expected to offset the cost of RECs the government would be buying anyway through its current energy contracts.
Keppel Prince builds wind towers, but was forced to lay off 85 workers last year when the company stopped receiving orders following months of Federal uncertainty and hostile State Government policies.
Keppel Prince General Manager Steve Garner said the REC purchase should allow the company to employ 40 people to build new wind towers before Christmas once new orders were received from wind developers.
The REC purchase will be based on a competitive tendering process, and will look favourably towards projects that include local content purchases such as the use of Victorian-built wind towers.
Wind is a natural fit for large-scale electricity generation like a 100 megawatt purchase. It is a proven, cheap renewable technology that produces a large amount of electricity per installed square metre. So we expect wind energy to be a strong beneficiary of this policy.
Victoria has many wind farms with planning permissions that are ready to be built, so having a guaranteed buyer of electricity from a wind farm or farms inspires confidence in the sector once again.
“While 50 wind towers is only a small purchase compared to the 1000 approved towers ready to go ahead when finances are available, this is a much-needed first step towards more renewables for our state, and a confidence-booster for wind communities.”
Premier Andrews and Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio also launched the government’s Renewable Energy Roadmap, a discussion paper seeking feedback on how the state can benefit from clean energy rollouts as well as renewables jobs.
The government has also signalled it will set a Victorian Renewable Energy Target of at least 20 per cent by 2020, and will also fix a 2025 goal.
The establishment of a Victorian Renewable Energy Target has been welcomed by the Australian Wind Alliance, however AWA would like to see higher targets and will be encouraging its members to push for this.
The ACT is seeking 100% renewable energy by 2025, and Queensland 50% by 2030.
The Australian Wind Alliance will be advocating for wind projects to be the major source of the 100 megawatt REC purchase, and will also be encouraging the government to set strong renewable energy goals.
The government is receiving submissions on the roadmap and the 2020 and 2025 renewables goals to inform its Renewable Energy Action Plan. Submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org close on 30th September.
To contact Australian Wind Alliance organiser for Victoria’s south-west, Angela McFeeters, write to angela [at] windalliance.org.au