Could Victoria lead the renewable energy charge?

It's no secret that Australia is under pressure to increase its use of renewables. This is being encouraged on both a national and state level, with some governments already taking action to ensure the security of their future energy supplies.

Among them is Victoria, which has already won praise from leading energy industry groups for its decisive action on renewables. That's because the state government has indicated that federal authorities need to remove a particular section of the Renewable Energy Act 2000, which hampers regional areas' efforts to combat climate change.

Victoria calls for changes to RET rules.Victoria calls for changes to RET rules.

Section 7c currently prevents any state government from putting its own Renewable Energy Target (RET) in place to work towards carbon reduction goals. This is something the Victorian government believes must be addressed in the near future to bring down electricity prices and benefit the global ecosystem.

Minister for Energy Lily D'Ambrosio said: "The federal government must move out of Victoria's way and change the law. Our state needs a proper renewable energy target, to support the industry and reduce pollution."

"Victoria will lead the way on renewable energy, which creates jobs, drives growth and protects our lifestyle and environment."

The benefits of a state-level RET

Aside from the obvious advantages that the RET brings to the environment, the Victorian government has also highlighted the potential economic benefits. In Victoria alone, the clean energy industry supports in excess of 4,000 jobs. Bringing a new RET into force has the potential to see this figure increase further.

Commenting on the state government's plans, the Clean Energy Council explained that job creation is essential for the success of local economies. It estimates that "tens of thousands of jobs" could be generated up and down the country, and not to mention encourage greater investment in the sector.

It's no secret that Australia is under pressure to increase its use of renewables.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said: "A reduced target as is currently being negotiated will mean less investment and fewer job opportunities than state governments had been anticipating.

"It's encouraging to see states such as Victoria investigating ways that can further accelerate renewable energy and take advantage of the opportunities that come with that."

Renewable energy in Victoria

Victoria has been making some headway in the clean power generation stakes over recent years. The Clean Energy Council's Renewable Energy in Victoria 2012 report shows that renewable energy generation produced in the state met around 7.7 per cent of its total electricity demand.

This is lower than the average across the country, which stands at 13.14 per cent. It is therefore important that Victoria is given whatever tools it needs to improve on this figure and facilitate the greater use of renewables.

Posted by Jeremy Elliott