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Victorians vote for Australia’s most ambitious climate and renewable energy policies

Labor was returned to power in the Victorian state election on the weekend. With all the focus on the popularity or otherwise of the Premier, one aspect that may have been overlooked is that Victorians voted for the most ambitious climate and energy policies in Australia to date. 

Here is a look at the key climate and energy policies the Labor government took to the election, and now needs to deliver.

95% renewable energy by 2035

Labor has committed to a target of achieving 95% renewable energy by 2035, and 65% by 2030. This signals the end of coal power generation in Victoria. Promisingly, this policy is backed up by a plan to build sufficient renewable generation, including an ambitious offshore wind target of 2GW installed by 2030 (which is around 20% of Victoria’s total power), 4GW by 2035, and 9GW by 2040. 

A revitalised State Electricity Commission

Labor has promised to revive the State Electricity Commission (SEC) which was privatised in the 1990s. SEC 2.0 would become the state-owned energy company responsible for building renewable energy projects. Labor said the SEC would deliver, “cheaper power bills and lower emissions while putting power back in the hands of Victorians.” though details of how this will be achieved as still forthcoming. Polling done by The Age indicated that this was one of the government’s most popular policies at the election. 

Picture: NCA NewsWire / Ian Wilson

Increasing Victoria’s energy storage capacity

Labor will legislate a Victorian energy storage target of at least 2.6GW of storage capacity by 2030, and at least 6.3GW of storage capacity by 2035. This includes both short and long-duration energy storage systems, taking in batteries, pumped hydro and hydrogen technologies. Storage is a crucial piece of the puzzle in our renewable energy future, and this is Australia’s first energy storage target.  

Labor has also pledged to install 100 neighbourhood batteries as part of a $42 million scheme to assist those who cannot readily install batteries in their homes to take advantage of electricity generated by renewables. 

Victoria’s Gas Substitution Roadmap 

Labor says their Gas Substitution Roadmap will “help empower Victorian households and businesses to embrace sustainable alternatives to fossil gas and enhance access to an affordable, secure, reliable, and safe energy supply.” This plan outlines the start of a shift away from the use of gas, removing the obligation of new homes to connect to the gas network and paving the way for all electric homes.

Emissions reduction target of 75-80% by 2035

This emissions reduction target is one of the most ambitious in the world, as is Labor’s commitment to achieve net zero by 2045. This target puts pressure on other states and nations to up their game, and allows us to move forward in the conversation of how to address the challenges of deep decarbonisation.

These policies have the potential to build an energy transformation in Victoria at the scale and speed that we need to secure a safe future. This also opens up a host of opportunities for regional communities including from the expansion of local manufacturing industries, creation of local high-paying jobs, and potential benefits from community benefit schemes. 

RE-Alliance will be keeping a close eye on these policies as the Labor government further develops and implements them. We'll continue to work hard to make sure communities are supported and their voices and needs are represented in the roll-out of our renewable energy future.

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