MEDIA RELEASE: Matthew Guy comes to the party on renewable energy jobs, yet commitment to Vic Renewables Target is the real test

MEDIA RELEASE – 29 Aug 2018

Matthew Guy comes to the party on renewable energy jobs, yet commitment to Vic Renewables Target is the real test

Opposition leader Matthew Guy made a renewable energy policy announcement this morning at Keppel Prince in Portland where hundreds are employed manufacturing wind turbine towers.

Opposition leader Matthew Guy’s proposal would require renewable energy projects over $50 million to use 75 percent local content. The opposition would reject planning permits for projects that fail to meet this standard.

Friends of the Earth say there is currently no modelling on the feasibility of the opposition's proposal and will consult with unions and the renewable energy sector regarding the matter.

"75 percent of zero is still zero, and that means jobs are at risk," said Pat Simons, Friends of the Earth renewable energy spokesperson.

Environment group Friends of the Earth says Matthew Guy’s announcement acknowledges the importance of renewable energy jobs, but says that without a commitment to the Victorian Renewable Energy Target, thousands of wind and solar jobs are at risk.

“Matthew Guy’s announcement acknowledges the importance of renewable energy jobs, yet only a commitment to the Victorian Renewable Energy Target can secure wind and solar jobs into the future,” said Pat Simons.

“The Victorian Renewable Energy Target is the best way for the state government to secure jobs and attract investment in this important sector.”
The Victorian Renewable Energy Target was legislated in October 2017 in response to calls from community groups, renewable energy businesses, unions, and environment organisations for a state government policy to grow renewable energy.

The Andrews government’s renewable energy targets of 25 percent by 2020 and 40 percent by 2025 are enshrined in law. The scheme is expected to:

  • Rollout more than 5,000MW of new solar and wind farms.
  • Create 10,000 renewable energy jobs.
  • Attract as much as $9 billion worth of investment to the state.
  • Cut power (please fix font) bills by $30 per year for households; $2,500 for small- and medium-sized businesses; and $140,000 for large businesses.
  • Drive a 16 percent reduction in electricity sector emissions.

Friends of the Earth say time is running out for the Matthew Guy opposition to deliver a climate change policy before the election:

“Time is running out for Matthew Guy to release a plan to tackle climate change before the November election,” said Leigh Ewbank, Friends of the Earth’s climate spokesperson.

“The Federal Coalition government’s failure to address climate change leaves Victorian communities exposed to intensifying impacts such as bushfire risk, heatwaves, and drought.”

“Community members expect all political parties to have clear plans to rein in emissions and protect the community from climate impacts.”

Friends of the Earth will be closely monitoring the climate and energy policies put forward by political parties, MPs, and candidates in the lead up to the November state election.

The group is calling for a commitment to a $100 million Victorian Climate Change Action Fund to provide start-up funding for innovative climate projects as well as a commitment to power Melbourne’s growing train network—the second largest energy user in the state—with renewable energy.