The Victorian Greens have released their energy and climate policy ahead of the forthcoming state election, calling for an end to coal-fired generation and a transition to 100 per cent renewables by 2030.
The policy released on Monday also calls for $9 billion worth of government-owned large-scale renewable energy over the next 10 years, to meet its 100 per cent renewable energy goal, some $500 million in publicly owned batteries and pumped hydro, a publicly owned retailer, and grants to help renters access power from “solar gardens.”
It also calls for an upgrade to the transmission network, particularly in the central west region, where the lack of grid capacity is stalling investment in around 2,300MW of large-scale wind and solar.
The Greens’ plan involves reaching 30 per cent renewables by 2020, 50 per cent by 2025, and 100 per cent by 2030, when the last of its coal-fired generators would be retired. This compares to Labor’s current target of 25 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025, and the Coalition’s aim to scrap any target.
Labor and the Coalition are fighting what is expected to be a close-run call. Labor is running hard on renewables, and has announced the results of its first auction, plus schemes to accelerate the rollout of rooftop solar and battery storage, but is facing stiff competition from the Greens in inner city seats.
“While the Greens welcome the state government’s investment in wind and solar, without a plan to get out of coal, climate change will continue to get worse including the drought conditions currently impacting the state,” the Greens said in a statement.
It also proposes a transition plan for the Latrobe Valley to create new industries and jobs, including making the Latrobe Valley the battery and storage test-bed of the world with an initial immediate investment of $500 million to build big batteries and pumped hydro storage.
“By fixing the grid and building large-scale publicly owned renewables, Victoria can source all its power from cheap, limitless, clean energy. We’ll no longer need polluting, unhealthy coal, which makes us sick and causes climate change,” said Ellen Sandell, Greens spokesperson for energy and climate change:
“Our energy system is controlled by a few big corporations who are driving up prices and holding back the transition to renewable energy. Our plan will bring energy back into public hands, phase out coal by 2030, and build enough renewable energy to meet 100% of Victoria’s energy needs.
“Labor are doing some good things on renewables, but they’re also extending the licenses of our two most polluting coal plants, and expanding the gas industry.
“They can’t have it both ways. If Daniel Andrews is serious about protecting Victoria from bushfires and drought, he will support the Greens’ plan. This will be a top priority if we’re in balance of power after the November election.”
- The plan also calls for $10 million in funding for 10 Community Energy Hubs across the state, to support uptake of clean energy and energy efficiency opportunities, and a “community energy quota” for the Victorian Renewable Energy Target auction process.
Friends of the Earth said the Greens’ ambition to see the state powered entirely by renewables is in line with the aspirations of the community:
“Many people in the community have a vision for an energy system powered by 100 percent renewables. It’s fantastic to see the Victorian Greens both share that vision and have a plan to achieve it,” said Pat Simons, renewable energy spokesperson.
“With climate change impacts like drought and bushfires becoming more frequent and more intense, we urgently need to replace Victoria’s aging coal-fired generators with renewable energy and storage. The rollout of new solar, wind, storage, and grid infrastructure will create thousands of jobs and bring investment to regional communities.”