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Pages tagged "Renewable Energy"

INQUIRY: Offshore wind and electrifying everything highlight at Vic 100% Renewables Inquiry, but fossil fuel lobby isn't happy

Just a week after the state government announced a massive target to build 9 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2040, key energy experts, community and industry leaders fronted a Parliamentary Inquiry into how Victoria can reach 100% renewable energy over two days.

The hearings held on March 16-17 highlighted the opportunities to more rapidly transition Victoria’s energy supply to renewable energy over the next decade.

Taking Victoria all the way to 100% Renewables will create thousands of new jobs, deliver billions of dollars of regional investment across Western Victoria and Gippsland in particular, and create a pathway to transition workers in fossil fuel industries into new, ongoing careers. The possibility has drawn criticism from the fossil fuels industry, which clearly feels threatened.

The impending closure of Victoria’s ageing coal fired power stations and the need to create alternative sources of employment for regions like the Latrobe Valley was front and centre.

Energy market analyst Dr Dylan McConnell said that brown coal will exit the energy market by the early 2030s in the Australian Energy Market Operator’s “step-change” scenario.

This is now considered the most likely scenario by the majority of energy stakeholders. Dr McConnell pointed out that the impending closure of brown coal has big implications for the Latrobe Valley, and estimates this will require investing around $10 billion in new renewable energy and storage.

Dr McConnell estimates rolling out renewable energy as brown coal closes could create just over 40,000 construction jobs and 1850 jobs in local manufacturing.

As the coal industry declines, Greg Foyster from Environment Victoria said its essential governments support communities like the Latrobe Valley through the transition. Foyster said funding the Latrobe Valley Authority until the last coal plant closure will give the community the certainty they need to plan their lives and careers.

And with Victoria aiming high on offshore wind, a whole new renewable energy industry will be developed over the next decade in Gippsland, creating a real economic pathway for workers in the coal, oil and gas industries.

During the inquiry, Victoria’s ambitious offshore wind target clearly frustrated fossil fuel lobby group, the Australian Energy Council (AEC)  which attacked the policy and warned Victoria against ‘going it alone’, as covered her in the Australian Financial Review. The AEC represents the owners of Australia’s polluting coal and gas generators and has long opposed state-led action on climate change.

Following questioning by Leader of the Victorian Greens Samantha Ratnam the AEC was unable to explain how it will assist workers in the coal and gas industries transition to new careers as the need to act on the climate crisis only becomes more urgent, or offer any useful recommendations to ensure Victoria will benefit from the transition. 

Clearly the AEC doesn’t like the idea of coal and gas fired generators competing with a whole new source of renewable energy even if this will deliver the deep emissions cuts needed to prevent catastrophic climate impacts from getting worse. 

Watch the Webinar: Learn more about Victoria’s offshore wind leadership

The inquiry was also a chance to dig deeper into what’s needed to make sure the transition to renewable energy delivers for regional communities. 

In 2020, the Victorian government announced it will create six new ‘Renewable Energy Zones’ throughout the state to coordinate investment in wind, solar and transmission infrastructure. 

Tony Goodfellow from the RE-Alliance said it’s important to get the transition right and making sure regional communities are involved in decision about the future of the energy system will be key

Tony said the state government has a good opportunity to communicate to the Victorian public about the need for the energy transformation, why Renewable Energy Zones have been planned and what they will mean for people who live in regions where renewable energy will be built. This could be modelled on the Latrobe Valley Authority.

The need to get Victoria off gas was also a major focus of the inquiry. According to Environment Victoria, gas represents 15% of Victoria’s total emissions, with a significant portion of this being burned for heating and cooking in homes and businesses and in industrial activities. 

But there is a huge opportunity to scale up existing policies to electrify homes and businesses  – doing this would not only help cut pollution from gas it will also reduce power bills.

After launching a joint statement to get off gas alongside community allies earlier this year, Friends of the Earth is now writing a community roadmap for a gas-free Victoria. 

Sign the Joint Statement to Get off Gas

With technology changing rapidly, and governments making significant new announcements on offshore wind, Victoria has a huge opportunity to accelerate the transition to renewable energy, create thousands of jobs, deliver cheaper power and act on the climate crisis. 

Friends of the Earth will continue to track the inquiry into 100% Renewable Energy, and will be engaging with the state government and upper house MPs to make sure it delivers the outcomes we need for real action on climate change. 

Sign up here for updates about our campaign for 100% Renewable Energy.

WEBINAR: Victoria's Offshore Wind Leadership with Min. Lily D'Ambrosio

In March 2022, the Victorian government announced a major new offshore wind plan that will see the state build a massive 9 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2040. It's an absolute game changer that will transform the energy system. 

On Thursday 10th March, Friends of the Earth and Victorian Trades Hall Council hosted a special event in conversation with Victoria Climate and Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio, who provided an online briefing about the major announcement.

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MEDIA RELEASE: Andrews govt historic offshore wind announcement a game changer for Victoria’s energy transition

MEDIA RELEASE - 4 March 2022

Environment group Friends of the Earth welcomes the Victorian government’s announcement of a target to build 9 Gigawatts of offshore wind by 2040.

The announcement is a game changer for state-led efforts to create jobs while tackling climate change.

“The Andrews government’s announcement positions Victoria as a national leader in offshore wind – a critical sector for the state’s energy transition.” said Pat Simons, Friends of the Earth’s renewable energy spokesperson.

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Dirt Radio podcast - Offshore wind - realising the potential

This week on the show we hear some of the highlights from a recent webinar held by Friends of the Earth and the Climate Council about the potential for an offshore wind industry in Australia. We hear presentations from Tony Wolfe, a coal fired power plant worker, and Penny Howard, a research officer with the Maritime Union of Australia.

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WEBINAR: Australia's Opportunity in Offshore Wind

Offshore wind is helping governments deliver deep emissions cuts, create thousands of jobs, and drive the a clean recovery in the United Kingdom and European Union.

But will Australia seize the offshore wind opportunity?... What will it take to establish the job-rich industry here in our country?

Join Friends of the Earth, The Climate Council and special guest speakers on Thursday 23 September for an online event.

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MEDIA RELEASE: Vic makes big renewables boost, Morrison missing in action on climate

The Victorian government has today announced it will power the entire Victorian government with renewable energy, including every public school and hospital and Melbourne’s entire metropolitan train network.

Community-driven environment group Friends of the Earth says the announcement is good news for climate and jobs, and will help firm up the grid by adding new renewable energy supply to the mix.

The announcement comes alongside the release of national emissions data that finds Australia's emissions are dropping, but only as a result of state & territory initiatives and the impact of the pandemic.

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MEDIA RELEASE: Latrobe Valley's first wind farm takes key step toward reality

The Latrobe Valley’s first wind project, the Delburn wind farm, has taken another step toward reality, with the public submissions period for the project now underway. 

Proposed in pine plantation in the Strzelecki Ranges south of Morwell, the 33 turbine project will overlook the former Hazelwood coal plant, and is expected to power 125,000 Victorian homes with clean renewable energy.

Environment group Friends of the Earth and local advocates welcome the announcement, saying this is a key moment for the community to shape the Latrobe Valley’s renewable energy future. 

“The Delburn Wind farm is another piece of the puzzle in the Latrobe Valley’s energy transition, offering a new source of jobs and a reliable source of energy generation for Victoria as the state acts on climate change” said Wendy Farmer, Yes2Renewables Gippsland Campaigner at Friends of the Earth.

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The Delburn Wind Farm

If approved, the Delburn wind farm proposed by local developer OSMI will be the first wind project built in the Latrobe Valley, currently home to Victoria’s ageing coal-fired power stations.  It will create local employment opportunities and economic activity while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Friends of the Earth supports the Delburn wind farm for Gippsland, and we see this project as being part of Victoria’s necessary transition away relying on fossil fuels to meet the state’s electricity needs.

The 180-200 megawatt project is expected to generate an approximate 590,000 MWh of electricity annually using 33 turbines. This is enough renewable energy to power up to 125,000 average Victorian homes every year, equating to an annual saving of 590,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

As Victoria transitions away from fossil fuels, it's essential that clean, healthy and sustainable industries are established to provide communities the benefits of good, climate jobs. This is particularly true in the Gippsland region, which is in the midst of a largely unplanned transition away from coal and native forest logging. 

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MEDIA RELEASE 29.11.2020: Vic Energy Innovation Fund will kickstart offshore wind & renewable hydrogen for climate

Environment group Friends of the Earth welcomes the Andrews government’s announcement of an Energy Innovation Fund today, and say establishing Victoria as a national leader in offshore wind and renewable hydrogen means it can aim high on climate change. 

“This is an important step towards making Victoria the national leader in offshore wind and getting ready to create a long pipeline of thousands of good climate jobs” said Pat Simons, Friends of the Earth’s Yes 2 Renewables Coordinator.

Friends of the Earth have been calling on the government to establish an offshore wind industry plan to ensure the state maximises the benefits of kickstarting the sector, in the leadup to an imminent decision on Emissions Reduction Targets for the state. 

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