Victoria’s Labor government has moved to lock in a state renewable energy target of 50 per cent by 2030, with the introduction of new legislation into parliament on Tuesday.
The Renewable Energy (Jobs and Investment) Amendment Bill 2019 builds on the Andrews government’s 2017 VRET legislation, which committed to source 25 per cent of Victoria’s electricity from renewables by 2020, and 40 per cent by 2025.
State energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio said on Tuesday that the targets continued to boost investment certainty in the state, and create jobs – particularly in regional communities.
“Victoria is the renewable energy capital of Australia and strengthening the VRET in law will keep it that way – boosting jobs, reducing emissions and driving down energy prices,” D’Ambrosio said.
Green groups have welcomed the new legislation, but argue the state should have an even more ambitious target, to best prepare it for the exit from coal, which Alinta Energy recently suggested could come sooner, rather than later, as aging plants fail.
“With recent speculation that Victorian coal power stations could close much earlier than expected, we need to build more renewable energy and storage ahead of time,” said Environment Victoria campaigns manager Dr Nicholas Aberle. “We should be aiming to go much higher.”
Friends of the Earth said it hoped the new renewables bill was a sign that the government would follow suit with “science-based” emissions reduction targets, to help keep warming well below 1.5°C.
“The increased renewable energy target shows the Andrews government has a plan to cut emissions in the electricity sector in a way that creates climate jobs,” said Act on Climate coordinator Leigh Ewbank.