The Snowy Hydro scheme has served Victoria for over fifty years. At the time, it was a big visionary project that opened Australian’s eyes to the capacity we had in our backyard – powerful infrastructure that could power homes across the country.
The $2 billion we’ve raised through the sale of the Snowy must be invested in projects that will deliver long-term solutions for all Victorians. But today’s solutions aren’t just about big concrete blocks. Instead, they are about being smart, efficient and fair.
Here’s an idea: let’s invest half the profits from the Snowy in a state-wide retrofit fund that would give every Victorian access to the advice, finance and support they need to get renewable energy on their roof and efficiency throughout their home.
Investing half the proceeds from the Snowy would be enough to fund smart clean energy upgrades for 250,000 Victorian households by 2022 and potentially up to 1,000,000 households by 2030.
Upgrading the energy efficiency of our homes and installing renewable energy is the single most important step we can take to reduce energy bills immediately.
It would also create thousands of skilled jobs across the state while reducing greenhouse gas pollution. It’s the most productive way to invest in the infrastructure of the future – making sure no Victorian is locked out of clean energy.
We know that Victorians want to repower their homes, but for some the barriers are still too high. The options are too confusing, it can be hard to know where to get trustworthy advice, and many simply don’t have the money upfront to fund the upgrades.
A statewide retrofit fund would give every Victorian – regardless of their circumstances – access to free expert advice, referral to accredited providers and the financing and assistance they need to reduce energy bills through smart efficiency measures and rooftop solar.
The Victorian government is already moving to allow Councils to offer ‘no upfront cost’ financing for environmental upgrades through their rates – the Snowy sale could provide the capital to get a statewide revolving loan scheme off the ground.
Partnering with energy retailers and private lenders could expand the fund, to ensure all Victorians experiencing energy hardship get financial assistance to upgrade their homes, cut their bills and reduce the health risks of living in inefficient homes.
It’s time to make sure all Victorians can get the finance, the advice and the confidence they need to repower their homes and fix their energy bills once and for all.