A bolstered Victorian Renewable Energy Target of 50 per cent by 2030 is now written into law, after the Labor government’s Renewable Energy (Jobs and Investment) Amendment Bill 2019 won the vote in state parliament on Wednesday.
The 50 per cent target was promised by the Andrews government in the lead up to last year’s state election, which Labor won convincingly on a heavily pro-renewables platform.
It builds on the Andrews government’s original VRET legislation – to to source 25 per cent of its electricity generation from renewable sources by 2020, and 40 per cent by 2025 – which saw Victoria become the first Australian state to write its renewables target into law.
Earlier this month, the bill voted through parliament’s upper house following several hours of debate, with 25 votes to 14 – and despite a strong show of opposition from the Liberal Party.
But observers this week said the final vote on the legislation was voted straight through, with no calls for a division or resistance to amendments from the Liberal-National opposition.
“Victorians voted overwhelmingly in support of increasing our renewable energy target – today we’ve delivered on our promise,” said state energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio in a statement.
“Enshrining a VRET of 50 per cent by 2030 sends a clear signal to industry to keep investing in renewables and creating jobs – particularly in regional Victoria.
“This legislation will help boost jobs, reduce emissions and drive down energy prices for Victorian families.”
Green group Friends of the Earth said the passing of the legislation was a welcome step to 100 per cent renewables, and would also clear the way for the Andrews Labor government to set strong climate targets in line with the Paris goal of limiting global warming to below 1.5°C.
D’Ambrosio said the government expected the increased VRET to create around 24,000 jobs by 2030 and provide certainty and investor confidence for the renewable energy industry, which itself is expected to drive an additional $5.8 billion in economic activity for the state.
The minister said the addition of renewables to the grid would also drive down the cost of power for Victorians, by around $32 a year for households, $3,100 a year for medium businesses and $150,000 each year for large companies.