Victoria renewables auction scheme opens for consultation

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Andrews government calls for consultation from business, community on design of renewable energy auction scheme – a first step towards its VRET of 40% by 2025.

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View of the 35-turbine Challicum Hills Wind Farm, Victoria.The land between the turbines continues to be used for farming. Image by Rolandg, source: Wikimedia Commons.
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The Victorian government has called for consultation from business and the community on the design of its renewable energy auction scheme, announced as a first step towards its ambitious state-based renewable energy target of 40 per cent by 2025.

View of the 35-turbine Challicum Hills Wind Farm, Victoria.The land between the turbines continues to be used for farming. Image by Rolandg, source: Wikimedia Commons.
Challicum Hills Wind Farm, Victoria.

Based on the highly successful reverse auctions pioneered in Australia by the ACT government, the Victorian Andrews government will hold a series of competitive auctions, in which industry will tender bids for large-scale solar and wind energy development in the state, with long-term contracts awarded to those projects demonstrating the best value for money.

The auction process was announced by state energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio on Friday as part of the recently announced VRET – which in it’s first phase aims to reach 25 per cent renewables by 2020 – and urged business and community to have their say on the scheme’s design, including structure, contractual arrangements, cost recovery mechanisms and auction evaluation principles.

Pat Simons, a spokesperson for the environmental NGO Friends of the Earth, which spearheaded the campaign for a Victorian Renewable Energy Target, said the reverse auction process had a number of added benefits, beyond procuring low-cost renewable energy generation for the state.

“Renewable energy auctions can deliver benefits for workers and the environment by adopting measures that encourage local jobs and manufacturing,” Simons said.

“It remains to be seen if the auctions will drive investment in energy storage and other innovations like the ACT scheme,” a Friends of the Earth media statement said.

“It’s high time to rebuild the renewable energy industry after the Abbott government’s attacks on the sector saw investment collapse by 90 per cent and almost 2,500 people lose their jobs,” Simons said.

Based on current generation and demand forecasts, up to 5,400MW of additional capacity will be contracted over the life of the scheme.

Feedback will be sought through written submissions, made to [email protected] and series of workshops will be held across the state throughout August.

A consultation paper to guide stakeholders is available online here.

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