Victoria pledges nation’s most ambitious renewable energy storage targets
Andrews government says by 2035 it wants enough storage capacity to power half the homes in the state
The Andrews government has pledged to legislate Australia’s largest renewable energy storage targets in a bid to accelerate the state’s transition to renewables and lower power prices.
Under the targets, Victoria would reach 2.6 gigawatts of renewable energy storage capacity by 2030 and 6.3 gigawatts of storage by 2035 – enough to power about half of Victoria’s current homes at their peak energy usage.
If re-elected in November’s state election, the government would introduce the legislation to parliament next year
Andrews said adding more renewable energy supply would create downward pressure on household power bills, boost jobs and provide certainty to investors in the sector.
“We intend to continue delivering more and more renewable energy,” Andrews said.
“We need the storage capacity to sit alongside that so you can soak up that energy when it’s in plentiful and abundant supply and then dispatch that out to households and businesses when it is needed.”
He said the storage goals would make it more likely the state will meet its target of halving emissions – using a 2005 baseline – by 2030, and achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Victoria also has a legislated a target of 50% renewables by 2030.
“We are keen to not only meet our 2030 targets, but if we can exceed them, then obviously that’s a good thing for jobs, good thing for households and a pretty good thing for the planet as well,” Andrews said.
Victorian premier Daniel Andrews says the plan will boost jobs and provide certainty to investors. Photograph: Joel Carrett/AAP
Last week, the state’s greenhouse gas emissions report revealed Victoria’s emissions fell to 30% below 2005 levels in 2020. This drop followed the closure of the Hazelwood coal plant in 2017 – due to not being economically viable – which cut the state’s emissions output by about 10%.
Victoria’s energy minister, Lily D’Ambrosio, said the storage targets were a crucial part of transition to renewables.
“Doing that early, doing that with ambition, doing that with guidance from government is so important for investors to get on and actually deliver the projects that are going to ensure that we manage the energy transition,” she said.
The targets will complement Victoria’s investment in wind and solar energy by soaking up the energy and dispatching it back into the grid when needed.
Kane Thornton, the chief executive of the Clean Energy Council, said the targets would increase energy storage, thereby allowing more investment in solar and wind energy and lowering power prices.
“The more of something you put into the grid, the lower the prices,” he said.
“The significant jump in storage planned between 2030 and 2035 is the latest recognition that Victoria’s remaining coal generators are unlikely to last much beyond 2030.”
The storage targets will include short and long-duration energy storage systems – which can hold more than eight hours of energy – including batteries, hydroelectricity and hydrogen technologies.
In March, the Andrews government unveiled Australia’s first offshore wind targets that could generate enough energy to power 1.5m Victorian homes by 2032.
The opposition leader, Matthew Guy, said the government’s pledge was “not a bad suggestion” but stressed that Victorians needed immediate cost of living relief.
The state government predicted the storage targets would create and maintain 12,700 jobs and underpin $1.7bn in investment between 2023 and 20234.
To support the targets, the Andrews government has also committed to investing $119m from its $540m renewable energy fund in a 125-megawatt battery and grid-forming inverter – to help stabilise the grid – between Bendigo and Red Cliffs.
The opposition on Tuesday vowed it would invest $1m in creating a fuel price comparison app – similar to NSW’s model – if it won the state election. The app would require fuel stations to publish their prices and provide consumers with real-time information on petrol prices near them.