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Victorian government commits to new wind farms

The Victorian government has signed contracts with ACCIONA Energy and Windlab for two new wind farms to be built in Mt Gellibrand and Kiata.

Minister for energy, environment and climate change Lily D’Ambrosio said the government would buy renewable energy certificates for its electricity use direct from new Victorian projects, which could save the state up to $67 million in energy costs over 10 years.

The wind farms are expected to total 100 megawatts in capacity, and will help the government meet its new state renewable energy targets of 25 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025.

“We’re proud to be rebuilding much needed confidence in the renewable energy industry following the neglect of Liberal governments at both state and federal levels over recent years,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

She said the projects would bring forward $220 million in investment and create hundreds of renewable energy jobs.

The news was welcomed by the Clean Energy Council. Policy manager Alicia Webb said the announcement marked a beginning of a shift to renewables for Victoria, and that there would be a lot of activity to meet the government’s renewables target.

Ms Webb said reverse auctions would be critical for successful delivery.

“Using reverse auctions to support renewable energy has been successfully pioneered by the ACT government over the last few years, and ensures the best bang for buck for Victoria.”

She pointed to the disaster at Hazelwood as a reason why a shift to renewables was necessary.

“Moving the state away from brown coal is challenging, and there are workers and communities near coal-fired power plants that need carefully considered transition plans,” she said. “No one is under any illusion about whether or not the change to clean energy will happen – it’s really about how fast it occurs and how the process is managed.

“Renewable energy is supported by most Victorians, it creates jobs and investment for locals, and offers other benefits for local community organisations. As always, the Clean Energy Council encourages all developers to consult in good faith with the community, communicate effectively and ensure all their concerns are properly addressed.”

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