clean energy

Victoria Allocates $1 Billion to Expedite Clean Energy Projects

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Committed to clean energy

Despite facing a substantial $4 billion deficit, the government of Victoria remains steadfast in its commitment to funding clean energy initiatives. As part of its 2023-24 budget, the state has allocated $1.78 billion, with the majority of the funds, $1 billion, being set aside as an initial equity investment for the revived State Electricity Commission (SEC). The SEC aims to generate 4.5 gigawatts (GW) of power, according to a statement by energy minister Lilly D’Ambrosio.

D’Ambrosio emphasized the significance of the SEC’s revival, stating, “We are prioritizing the interests of Victorians by reintroducing the SEC, which will kickstart investments in renewable energy, reduce electricity bills, combat climate change, and create numerous job opportunities.”

In line with its election pledge to invest in renewable energy generation in the Latrobe Valley, the government recently initiated a market search for a flagship generation and/or storage project. Under this plan, 51 per cent of the projects will be owned by the Victorian taxpayer, with the remaining 49 per cent owned by an investment partner.

Additionally, the new SEC will receive an extra $44 million to establish operational bases in Morwell and Melbourne.

Victoria Tesla Battery

Another notable allocation in the budget is $400 million designated for the $250 Power Saving Bonus program. This initiative gives Victorian residents a $250 incentive to explore energy deals on the Victorian Energy Compare website.

The remaining $336 million will be utilized for training, regulatory measures, infrastructure development, and other initiatives to ease the cost of living.

Shortage of skilled workers

Given Australia’s anticipated shortage of skilled workers in the clean energy sector, particularly in the offshore wind industry, there have been increasing calls from industry and academia for enhanced support in education. Over the next four years, the government plans to invest $12 million in the SEC Centre of Training Excellence. This investment will cover establishing a business centre, developing new education and training (VET) qualifications, and an additional $16 million for two training centres focusing on offshore and onshore wind industries, as well as the hydrogen industry.

This will improve workforce skills and capacity in the renewable energy industry and upgrade existing facilities. Within the education budget, $19 million will be allocated to provide 10,000 students with work experience placements in the clean energy sector and other priority areas. Furthermore, $116 million will be utilized to construct and operate six new tech schools, establish a Clean Energy Equipment Fund, and allocate $50 million to a TAFE Clean Energy Fund.

Regulatory review 

Approximately $15.3 million will be spent on reviewing regulatory and licensing requirements for renewable energy systems and providing specialized advice to shape the national energy reform agenda and align it with Victoria’s energy interests.

VicGrid will receive $20.6 million for planning and community consultation regarding Victoria’s transmission network.

Healesville and Benambra will share $130,000 to enhance access to local and clean energy alternatives. Moreover, $58.2 million will be spent installing 100 neighbourhood batteries throughout the state and offering interest-free loans for household batteries. Additionally, $5.1 million will be utilized to promote the replacement of gas appliances in businesses and households with electric alternatives.

The government remains committed to developing the Port of Hastings as an offshore wind terminal, despite scaling back on other major infrastructure promises. The port development will receive $27 million in funding, and as the first license auction has concluded with ongoing assessments, the deadline to establish a port capable of facilitating the new industry is drawing closer.

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