Vic Labor flags state-based renewable target if Fed folds

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The Victorian Labor Party has flagged – for the first time – that it may revitalise a state-based renewable energy target if the national target is closed to new business, or drastically wound back by the Federal Coalition government.

Daniel McGlone, the Labor candidate for the  hotly contested seat of Ripon, told The Maryborough Advertiser the party remained committed to renewable energy. “(State leader) Daniel Andrews has made a commitment that should the RET be scrapped at a federal level Labor will revisit the VRET and re-instate it,” he said. “I’m obviously going to be deeply in favour of that.”

Victoria_Austrailia_Wind_FarmThere has been increased talk about a VRET in recent months, particularly leading up to the state election later this year. Victoria’s VRET, under Labor a decade ago, single-handedly kept the renewable industry alive when the then Energy Minister Ian Macfarlane pulled the plug on John Howard’s MRET. Macfarlane is once again at the controls of policy, and seems determined to repeat the dose.

Such a move would mean a third Labor government with a renewable target more ambitious than the federal target. ACT has a 90% renewable energy target for 2020, and a feed in tariff set by an auction process funds that development. South Australia recently lifted its state-based target to 50 per cent in 2025, from its already met target of  33 per cent in 2020, but that relies on the national RET staying in place.

A VRET would likely provide its own mechanism that would ensure large scale wind energy – and possibly large scale solar energy – was developed within the state.
It also plays into the changed energy politics in the state, with the disastrous Morwell fire changing the mood around brown coal, and the Coalition government’s anti-wind policy clearly costing jobs and investment. The fact that a Labor candidate is openly touting such a policy in a seat held marginally by the incumbent Coalition is testament to that.
Public polling commissioned by the Climate Institute found 71 per cent of Victorians support state government policies that encourage renewables.
vic RET“Many Victorians will vote for renewable energy in the coming state election. Parties with a clear pro-renewables position will have an electoral advantage,” said Leigh Ewbank, spokesperson from Friends of the Earth.
“Victoria’s renewable energy sector is languishing due to the Abbott government’s attacks. It will take state government leadership to restore certainty. McGlone’s support for a Victorian Renewable Energy Target is welcome news. The policy would create jobs and unleash investment in Victoria – which is something all political parties can support.”
Friends of the Earth have called on Premier Napthine and opposition leader Daniel Andrews to make a Victorian Renewable Energy Target a central plank of state energy policy.
McGlone made the commitment just one week after South Australian Labor Premier Jay Weatherill announced his state will lift its Renewable Energy Target to 50 per cent by 2025.
“The ACT has a renewables target of 90% by 2020. South Australia’s target has been lifted to 50% by 2025. Victoria doesn’t have a target and is falling behind,” said  Ewbank.
Public polling commissioned by the Climate Institute found 71 per cent of Victorians support state government policies that encourage renewables.


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  • BroSheffieldBrotherton

    The hint by the ALP candidate for Ripon in The Maryborough Advertiser that the Victorian Labor Leader has a commitment to reinstating the Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET) is welcome, though it appears to be some steps away from a firm undertaking at present. Hopefully those steps will be taken soon.

    For the record, the Greens made a firm commitment to reinstating the VRET some time ago:

    Bro Sheffield-Brotherton
    Greens Candidate for Werribee

  • JohnRD

    They would be a lot smarter to look at he ACT renewable auction scheme. AVRET scheme is not going to work without bipartisan support.

  • Mick

    I am sorry Mr Sheffield-Brotherton, but the greens have really not done their
    homework on this one. Check s7C of the RET legislation – as per the Greens website, “the legal framework for the Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET) was retained” – however, re-instating it would be unconstitutional. Fail.

  • Rob G

    It begs the question of NSW and why they won’t go it alone and support their own RET, especially when the federal government have made it clear they do not support the RET. After all, NSW Libs did say they wanted to be the next California and happily told us they support renewables. Will it take a Labor state government to get things really moving in NSW?