Victoria is moving towards a future powered by renewable energy and we need to rethink the way we bring energy to communities.
Victoria has legislated a new target of 50% renewable energy generation by 2030 and is rapidly adding renewable energy generation, which is cheaper to build than new coal plants. Victoria’s coal-fired generators will begin closing from 2029. Victoria relies on an electricity network designed to move electricity from coal-fired power plants in the Latrobe Valley around the state. Many renewable energy sources like wind and solar farms are located in many parts of the state such as Western Victoria, Great South Coast, as well as in the Gippsland region. This means we need to build new electricity links to share this energy across Victoria as well as into other states.
To expand renewable energy in Victoria, the government and private sector need to work together. Renewable energy can bring many benefits including reliability, affordability and reduced emissions.
Renewable energy generators are built and owned by private operators. They need to connect to the shared transmission network to get their electricity to consumers. As more renewables will need to be developed to meet Victoria’s future energy demand, the transmission network needs to be adapted. The cost of new transmission is paid for by consumers, with oversight by independent bodies to ensure investment Is cost-effective and delivers benefits.
A key challenge is how to coordinate private investment with new transmission infrastructure so that costs can be kept to an efficient level and the energy system operates reliably.
Renewable Energy Zones are places where there are good wind and solar resources. They provide an opportunity for groups of large-scale renewable energy projects to locate together, allowing more efficient development of the power system. This includes coordinating transmission investment as well as the potential to share connection assets. Renewable Energy Zones can also reduce pressures on land development, and support better conideration of community, cultural and environmental impacts.
Renewable Energy Zones are a relatively new concept for Australia. Regulatory frameworks are being created to support their development.
New South Wales is currently running Australia’s first pilot Renewable Energy Zone. The pilot is overseen by a dedicated agency and initially supported by $9 million in seed funding.
What are our draft recommendations?
The following recommendations in our draft strategy relate to renewable energy:
Support augmentation of critical electricity transmission infrastructure by 2027-28 to accommodate new renewable energy generation and improve network resilience.
Immediately identify and coordinate the development of priority Renewable Energy Zones, especially in the state’s northwest.
Other relevant recommendations in the draft strategy
Read Section 1.1 of the draft strategy (Victoria's Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy 28.9 MB, PDF) to check out other recommendations related to ‘Navigate the energy transition’.