Voices from Geelong: Anticipation for ambitious VRET growing

While Malcolm Turnbull pulls rhetorical dance moves in an awkward defence of coal, Victoria is anticipating a new energy future.

Yes 2 Renewables has commended the Andrews Government for its decision to adopt a Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET), though question marks remain on the level of ambition it will take in backing future industry and jobs.

Our anticipation is shared by Geelong resident Vicky Grosser, whose letter to the editor highlights the efforts by the local Geelong Sustainability Group in developing a community-owned renewable energy project, and calls on the Andrews Government to adopt a more ambitious VRET:

What will the final Victorian Renewable Energy Target Be?

The decision will determine whether we have a clean energy industry or a polluting one. The Victorian Government has been consulting widely over recent months about what the State target should be, and whether to step us up to join other States that are taking action through renewable energy. Individuals have contributed submissions alongside businesses that specialise in climate change and energy efficiency.

Friends of the Earth ‘Yes 2 Renewables’ campaign has recommended 30% by 2020 and 50% by 2025, In Geelong we wait with much anticipation for the decision, with skilled local people developing a Community Owned Renewable Energy project through Geelong Sustainability.

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Christine Couzens, Member for Geelong.

How will Geelong MP Christine Couzens respond to community interest in the renewable energy industry?

Couzens has spoken elsewhere about the benefits of long term infrastructure funding for regional cities and areas. Y2R hopes she will take the same long term vision when considering Victoria’s energy future, and the potential for Geelong to create new jobs in the renewable energy industry.

The stakes in determining the future of Victoria’s energy system are clear as the Andrews Government also comes nearer to making a decision on a ban for unconventional gas drilling and fracking.  As Vicky states “the decision will determine whether we have a clean energy industry or a polluting one.”

Victoria is already benefiting from the ACT government’s Renewable Energy Target of 90% by 2020, spurring wind turbine manufacturing in Portland, and progress on Windlab’s new Coonooer Bridge Wind Farm.

An ambitious VRET will make Victoria even more attractive, bringing jobs and investment to our state at a time when the broader manufacturing sector is in decline.

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With intelligent policies there is certainly potential for the manufacturing hub Geelong to revitalise itself as the renewable energy industry expands in Australia. The Andrews Government is clearly keen to make Victoria a home for high-tech manufacturing, with Lily D’Ambrosio yesterday announcing its ‘Future Industries Fund Manufacturing Program’.

Couzens and Lily D’Ambrosio can lay the grounds for a high-tech renewable energy industry by increasing their ambition on the VRET.

With enough shovel-ready projects to smash their baseline Renewable Energy Target of 20% by 2020, the Andrews government can set our state’s sights on achieving at least 30% by 2020 and 50% by 2025.

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