September 11, 2018 Read More →

Two Australia states push ahead with green energy purchases


Australia’s Victoria state on Tuesday agreed to back six new wind and solar farms to help meet a target of getting 25 percent of its power from renewables by 2020, just weeks after a year-long attempt at crafting a national energy policy collapsed.

The announcement came the same week as South Australia, the state most reliant on wind and solar energy, said it would invest A$100 million ($71 million) to help households buy battery storage from Germany’s sonnen, which will link the batteries into a “virtual power plant”.

The two states are forging ahead on their renewable energy programs, providing some certainty to investors who have been asking the federal government for stability in the national energy policy after more than a decade of turmoil.

The conservative federal government last month scrapped its National Energy Guarantee (NEG) plan – which aimed to make the grid more reliable, cut emissions and lower prices – yielding to pressure from politicians wanting more coal-fired power.

The Australian Industry Group, which had been pressing the for a national policy rather than uncoordinated state policies which have led to power outages on the grid, said the new generation in Victoria will help energy users. “With national uncertainty inhibiting needed investment, even second-best options are frankly welcome,” Australia Industry Group Chief Executive Innes Willox said in a statement.

Victoria sought bids last November for 650 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy last November, but attracted so much interest that on Tuesday it chose projects that will deliver 928 MW of capacity at a combined cost of A$1.16 billion. The wind and solar farms will generate about 6 percent of the state’s power.

More: Australia states power ahead with renewables after national policy collapses

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