Australian govt invests to drive renewables in Victoria, Tasmania
GE 3 MW wind turbines at Ararat wind farm in Southwest Victoria. Picture credit: GE Renewable Energy
The Australian government on Wednesday announced the first investments of its Rewiring the Nation plan, which will drive renewable energy development in Victoria and Tasmania.
Australia’s federal government and Victoria have signed an agreement to jointly fund Victorian offshore wind projects, renewable energy zones (REZs) and the Victoria-New South Wales Interconnector (VNI West) KerangLink.
The agreement includes AUD 1.5 billion (USD 948m/EUR 964m) of concessional financing for REZ projects in the state, including offshore wind, a AUD-750-million concessional loan to support VNI West’s completion by 2028 and plans to coordinate regulatory processes to aid the development of the offshore wind industry in Victoria. The VNI-West KerangLink is expected to unlock 4 GW of new power generation.
“Rewiring the Nation has always been about jobs in new energy industries, delivering cleaner, cheaper and more secure energy, and bringing down emissions – today it begins doing just that,” said Labour prime minister Anthony Albanese.
The Albanese government said that key transmission projects stalled under the former federal government at a time when the country’s electricity system is changing rapidly.
“For too long, national energy policy has been ad hoc and hollow – today is another step in turning this around and putting reliable, affordable power and new energy jobs first,” said Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen.
“This announcement today demonstrates the Albanese Government’s commitment to progressing the renewable transformation with the states and territories,” Bowen also commented.
In addition, the Australian government, Victoria and Tasmania will equally fund a 20% equity investment in the Marinus Link interconnector between Tasmania and Victoria.
Under a letter of intent between the federal government and Tasmania, the remaining 80% of the project costs will be funded via a concessional loan from Rewiring the Nation, through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
The partnership also includes up to AUD 1 billion of low-cost debt for Tasmania’s Battery of the Nation projects, as well as low-cost debt to link Cressy, Burnie, Sheffield, Staverton and Hampshire in Tasmania, known as the North West Transmission Developments (NWTD), to enable Tasmania and the mainland to take advantage of the wind energy resources in North-West Tasmania.
The partnership paves the way for Marinus Link to reach a final investment decision in late 2024.
The Battery of the Nation projects include the Tarraleah hydropower station redevelopment and pumped hydro at Lake Cethana.