Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Victoria’s smart renewable energy policy

Victorian government generates smart policy to drive surge in renewable energy,  http://www.theage.com.au/comment/the-age-editorial/victorian-government-generates-smart-policy-to-drive-surge-in-renewable-energy-20170823-gy2he1.html The transition from coal-generated electricity to renewable energy is inevitable and crucial. Science has demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that carbon emissions from coal and gas are a primary cause of dangerous global warming and climate change.

One of the main financial burdens on Australian families and businesses in recent years has been the sharp increase in the price of electricity, which has been driven by a surge in gas prices, and, many contend, by over-investment in transmission infrastructure – poles and wires – by power companies. Another key reason is the lack of investment in renewable energy, which is becoming increasingly competitive even with the cheap coal that still provides most of our baseload electricity.

The main reason investment in renewable energy has slowed is political; a lack of policy consistency and the perplexing anti-renewables stance of former Coalition prime minister Tony Abbott undermined confidence by generating uncertainty. Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions rose in the March quarter by 1.6 per cent, the biggest rise in almost a decade, making it all the more difficult for the country to meet its international commitments.

So the Victorian government’s decision to provide some certainty is welcome, and should help lead to affordable, reliable renewable energy. The government is asking green energy companies to tender for a contract to supply 650 megawatts of power, which is sufficient to meet the demand of every household in Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and the Latrobe Valley. The move comes a month after the government announced new battery storages that can deliver four hours of power to two regional Victorian towns of 100,000 people, and two solar farms to power Melbourne’s entire tram network, the world’s biggest.

The measures are fundamental to achieving the state government’s renewable energy targets of 25 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025. At the moment, about a 10th of the state’s power comes from renewable sources. The policy is all the more necessary following the recent closure of the Hazelwood coal-fired power station, which provided more than a fifth of Victoria’s electricity.

 The government’s modelling suggests the renewable energy “reverse auction” will spark $1.3 billion of investment in wind and solar, and ultimately reduce power prices for businesses and households. That remains to be seen. It will be important to monitor prices to prevent those least able to afford power from carrying a disproportionate cost. Again, the move to renewable energy is not optional, so there should be consideration of policies to relieve the burden on those on the lowest incomes.
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August 25, 2017 - Posted by | energy, Victoria

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