Victoria has 19 wind farms worth billions ready to go if the federal government allows the state to top up the renewable energy target.
The state wants to increase its renewable energy supply from 13 per cent to 20 per cent but isn’t allowed to top up the RET scheme under current rules.
Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said she was disappointed the government plans to cut the RET back to 33,000 gigawatt hours by 2020.
“We’re calling on the federal government to get out of the way, change the renewable energy laws so Victoria can have its own top-up scheme,” she told reporters.
The federal government has been trying to slash the RET after a review last year found the legislated 41,000GWh could overreach the policy goal of 20 per cent of all energy coming from renewables by 2020.
Ms D’Ambrosio said 19 wind farms worth about $5 billion, creating 2638 jobs during the construction and operation stages, had approval and were waiting to be commissioned.
Opposition leader Matthew Guy said Victoria should wait for the federal scheme to come into effect.
“I think Victoria should look to solutions that are of a national scheme,” Mr Guy said.
“We shouldn’t be going it alone.”
The Greens said the state government shouldn’t use federal inaction as an excuse to do nothing.
“The ACT has gone ahead with a renewable energy target without needing to wait for Tony Abbott, and it’s working” said Greens MP Ellen Sandell said.
“Just this year we saw a wind farm north west of Bendigo approved, only due to ACT’s strong policies.”
“We could introduce a reverse-auction or feed-in-tariff policy right now, like they have in the ACT, without waiting.”
Clean Energy Council chief executive Kane Thornton said Victoria’s stance was encouraging, given the lower federal target was going to hurt investment.
“A reduced target as is currently being negotiated will mean less investment and fewer job opportunities than state governments had been anticipating,” he said.