News | 12th Apr, 2011

Report: state falls short of green target

Tuesday, 12 April 2011
Banyuleand Nillumbik Weekly

Victoria is failing to keep pace with its green potential. Fossil fuel use has increased more than 10 per cent in the past decade, despite state government policies to create more sustainable energy.

By comparison, renewable energy generation from sources such as wind and solar has grown by less than 1 per cent.

Victoria aims to produce 2500 gigawatts a year by 2020 from renewable sources.

The Victorian Auditor-General released its damning report on the state’s renewable energy last week, which stated fossil fuels generate more than 96 per cent of the state’s electricity. Just 3.9 per cent of energy consumed in Victoria comes from renewable sources, such as wind farms or solar panels.

The report states efforts to increase renewable energy have failed, despite targets and investment incentives.

‘‘The volume of renewable energy presently generated falls well short of expectations, and growth in the state’s capacity to generate renewable energy is not on track to deliver future targets,’’ the report states.

Significant investment – estimates range up to $3.4 billion – would be needed to enable the state to reach its 2020 target.

Environment Victoria campaigns director Mark Wakeham slammed the figures, and said Victoria was in danger of falling behind other states in developing a fully fledged sustainable energy industry.

‘‘It’s very disappointing that Victoria’s renewable energy share has not increased over the past decade, given the urgent need to reduce pollution to limit climate change,’’ Mr Wakeham said. ‘‘We need to put a price on pollution and provide more effective support to renewable energy.’’

Mr Wakeham urged the state government to develop plans to reduce the state’s dependence on brown coal and other fossil fuels. ‘‘It’s one thing to set targets to increase renewable energy or reduce greenhouse pollution, but if you don’t develop a clear roadmap of how to get there and have the right policies in place, you won’t be able to meet those targets,’’ he said.

The state government recently announced it would honour the former government’s commitment to two solar power projects in Mildura.