Victoria is the first State to enshrine its renewable energy targets into legislation, and the passing of the Renewable Energy (Jobs and Investment) Act 2017 (Vic) will provide greater investment certainty for the renewable energy industry in Victoria. 

Renewable Energy (Jobs and Investment) Act 2017 (Vic)

The Act formally establishes Victoria’s two renewable energy targets (together, “the Targets"):

  1. by 2020, to have 25% of Victoria’s electricity generated by renewable energy ("2020 Target"); and
  2. by 2025, to have 40% of Victoria’s electricity generated by renewable energy ("2025 Target").

The Act will come into operation on or before 1 June 2018. The passing of the Act follows the commencement of Climate Change Act 2017 (Vic) which came into operation on 1 November 2017, which we covered in a previous alert earlier this year.

What the Act means for Victoria

The Act’s main purposes are to establish the Targets, to support schemes to achieve the Targets and to encourage investment and employment in Victoria.

The objects of the Act are:

  1. to increase the proportion of Victoria’s electricity generated by means of large-scale renewable energy facilities (facilities that have a generation capacity of more than 100 kilowatts);
  2. to support the development of projects and initiatives to encourage investment, employment and technology development in Victoria in relation to renewable electricity generation;
  3. to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in Victoria and to achieve associated environmental and social benefits;
  4. to promote the transition of Victoria to a clean energy economy; and
  5. to contribute to the security of electricity supply in Victoria

Under the Act every year the Minister must report to the Parliament by 31 October in relation to the preceding financial year, regarding:

  1. the progress made towards meeting the Targets;
  2. the performance of schemes designed to achieve the Targets; and
  3. investment and employment in Victoria in relation to renewable electricity generation

The Minister must also determine the minimum amounts of renewable energy generation capacity required to meet the Targets ("Capacity Determinations"). A Capacity Determination must be published:

  1. by 31 December 2017 for the 2020 Target; and
  2. by 31 December 2019 for the 2025 Target.

Comment

Renewal energy targets vary significantly between States and Territories in Australia. Whilst State and Territory-based targets are not a recent phenomenon, this is the first time renewable energy targets have been enshrined in State or Territory legislation in Australia.

In Victoria, renewable energy currently represents about 17% of electricity generation, and if Victoria achieves the 2025 Target it will have more than doubled this figure in less than a decade.

Victoria’s Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio has said that the Act will provide the renewable energy sector with the confidence to invest in renewable energy projects.