MELBOURNE, AAP – Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has unveiled a series of Australian-first offshore wind targets in his first “state of the state” address in two years.
Speaking at the annual Committee for Economic Development of Australia event on Friday, the first since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Mr Andrews outlined a vision for future offshore wind production in Victoria.
Under the targets, the first announced by any state or territory in Australia, two gigawatts (GW) of power would be generated by Victorian offshore wind by 2032.
Mr Andrews said it would meet 20 per cent of Victoria’s energy needs and be enough to power 1.5 million homes.
That figure would rise to 4GW by 2035 and 9GW by 2040.
“Targets … we will meet and that we will exceed,” Mr Andrews said at the CEDA event.
“It is the clearest and best signal we can send to investors, to those who will build and operate.
“It’s a message from a government with a proven track record of getting things done, and a government not simply prepared to say ‘well, that’s a matter for the feds’ when we know they’ll do precious little about it.”
The Victorian government last year pledged $40 million to fund scoping studies and pre-construction development for three proposed wind farms off the state’s coast.
Power from the wind farm projects in Gippsland and Bass Coast is not expected to hit Victorian homes and businesses until at least 2028.
Flotation Energy, which was allocated $2.3 million to investigate the feasibility of its 1.5GW ‘Seadragon’ offshore wind farm, welcomed the commitment.
“This is an important step that will unlock billions of dollars in new investment, create highly skilled jobs and open significant opportunities for the local supply chain,” the developer’s Australian managing director Tim Sawyer said in a statement.
Victoria has already vowed to cut its carbon emissions by 50 per cent of 2005 levels by 2030, almost double the Commonwealth’s commitment of 26 to 28 per cent.
Mr Andrews said 60 per cent of Australia’s national energy mix was currently made up of fossil fuels and the nation was lagging behind the rest of the world in renewables generation.
“We are a first world country with second rate renewable energy ambitions,” the premier said.
“National emissions targets are eclipsed, they are embarrassingly eclipsed, by those set by states and territories, and what’s clear is that the transition to cheap renewable energy will only get done if it’s led by states and territories.”
By 2050, it is estimated Victoria’s offshore winds can add 13 GW to the state’s energy grid, five times its current renewable energy generation.