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Clean energy charges up Victorian economy

The Victorian Government has underlined its commitment to clean energy this month, promising to extend the Victorian Renewable Energy Target to 50 per cent by 2030. We are beginning to see the foundations being laid for long-term stability and the modernisation of the state’s electricity market.

The new target is ambitious but achievable. With the demise of the Federal Government’s National Energy Guarantee earlier this year and no alternative in sight, the industry needs certainty to invest the hundreds of millions of dollars into new clean energy projects which will create new jobs and opportunities for regional Victoria. These kinds of state policies will help lay the foundations for the modernisation of the state’s electricity system, while creating jobs and investment.

Local communities are already seeing the rewards from investment in renewables in Victoria – almost 20 wind and solar projects are underway, adding up to more than $5 billion of investment and close to 4000 direct jobs. Long-term policy and security will lead to more opportunities for the whole state, breathing life into the areas around new renewable energy projects and giving people extra opportunities outside the capital cities.

Below we’ll take a look at some examples across the state where this is already happening:

Murra Warra Wind Farm

What happens when a group of local farmers decide they want to invest in wind power? Murra Warra Wind Farm happens. The wind farm provides a good source of extra income that has created local jobs and economic activity, and will help see the farmers through the big dry. Between them the group farmers will host 116 turbines that have an operational lifespan of 25 years and a total output of 429 MW.

Murra Warra Wind Farm
Murra Warra Wind Farm

The Bulgana Green Power Hub

Renewable energy company Neoen is both the developer and operator of the power hub. The hub will generate more than 750 MW of renewable energy into the national power grid each year. This is the equivalent of taking 230,000 cars off the road. The wind and storage facility are home to one of the largest grid-scale batteries in the world and will power Nectar Farms’ hydroponic greenhouses. In addition, over 1300 jobs will be created inclusive of 250 ongoing jobs in the agricultural sector and 10 direct ongoing jobs in renewables in the Stawell region.

The Melbourne Renewable Energy Project (MREP)

The MREP is a pioneering project led by the City of Melbourne which saw local governments, cultural institutions, universities and corporations join forces to buy renewable energy from Pacific Hydro’s Crowlands Wind Farm. The 39 turbine, 80 MW capacity wind farm is around a 2.5-hour drive out of Melbourne by car and will create over 140 construction jobs. Members of MREP, including NAB, Zoos Victoria and the University of Melbourne, have committed to purchase 88 GW of electricity per year under a long-term power purchasing agreement (PPA).

Wind Farm 1
MREP

Stockyard Hill Wind Farm

Goldwind commenced construction of the Stockyard Hill Wind Farm in May 2018 and consists of 149 wind turbines, making it one of the country’s largest wind farms. Located approximately 35km west of Ballarat, the wind farm has the potential to power the equivalent of almost 400,000 homes annually. The total installed capacity of 530 MW is expected to cut 2 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year while creating 300 construction jobs.