In response to today’s ‘Rewiring the Nation’ announcement from state and federal governments, Environment Victoria’s CEO Jonathan LaNauze said:
“Environment Victoria has today welcomed the Rewiring the Nation announcement to modernise Victoria’s, Tasmania’s and Australia’s electricity grid – particularly as Victoria dramatically accelerates its offshore wind industry and shifts away from our reliance on polluting fossil fuels.
“One of the biggest barriers to replacing fossil fuels with renewables is transforming our electricity grid from one centred around coal regions, to one that unlocks clean energy sourced from less centralised renewable energy zones.
“Today’s announcement will help ensure the critical infrastructure needed to accelerate the transition to renewables is built, meaning more jobs, cheaper energy bills and lower carbon emissions.
“Modelling released by Nexa Consulting shows that Victorian electricity prices would see a steep increase if the required transmission infrastructure build is delayed. Today’s announcement will mean more renewable energy coming online leading to lower energy bills from wind and solar power.
“We note this announcement will include 1.5bn in concessional financing for Victorian Renewable Energy Zones (including offshore wind), $750m concessional finance for Vic-NSW interconnector and up to $1b of low-cost debt for Tasmania’s Battery of the Nation projects.
“Importantly, finance is tied to delivering the Victoria-New South Wales Interconnector in a timely way.
“Projects of national significance on this scale still require social licence to operate.
“Communities hosting transmission lines must be involved in planning to ensure local impacts are minimised and genuine benefits achieved. These processes must uphold stringent standards of biodiversity protection and environmental impact mitigation under state and federal laws.
“Transmission companies and governments at all levels have a responsibility to ensure that the people who are directly impacted including First Nations, local communities and environmental groups are active participants in the planning process.
“This announcement will help us overcome one of the remaining hurdles to rapid energy transition – the infrastructure to distribute clean, renewable energy.
“We look forward to seeing the detail around rolling out renewable energy zones in Victoria and nationwide, preparing for a new renewable energy workforce, and ensuring this vital work is done with thorough and judicious social licence and community engagement.
“Affordable, clean energy is something all voters want, regardless of which side of politics they support. We encourage the Victorian Coalition to provide bipartisan support to today’s announcement.”
James Norman, Media and Content Manager