The Victorian Government will run a tender to help build a new large-scale solar plant in a regional area of the state, with part of the electricity used to run Melbourne’s tram network.

The new 75 megawatt solar plant is expected to generate $150 million in new investment and about 300 jobs, as well as reducing emissions by about 80,000 tonnes a year.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton (pictured left, above) said the Victorian Government’s plan to support enough solar power to run its tram network will bring the community along for the ride to a cleaner electricity system, as well as helping to create jobs and investment across the state.   

“Investment in renewable energy by state governments such as Victoria is helping to create much-needed momentum in the sector towards the national Renewable Energy Target and build investment confidence,” Mr Thornton said.

“With no national coordinated energy policy beyond the end of the decade, state governments are introducing their own initiatives to encourage more renewable energy and help Australia meet its emissions reduction commitments.”

Government investment in renewable energy to run public transport is part of a broader trend, with the Dutch national railway operator announcing this month that its trains now run on wind energy.

Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio (second from right, above), said the government will use its purchasing power as a large energy consumer to boost investment in renewables and create new jobs for Victorians.

“We’re positioning Victoria as a leader in climate change, by reducing emissions and adapting to the impacts,” she said.

The Victorian Government will run a tender process in the first half of this year, with the project expected to be completed by the end of 2018.