Victoria’s wind energy industry has released a joint statement calling on the State Government to set science-based emission reduction targets to tackle climate change and secure growth opportunities for regional Victoria.
The coalition of 10 wind power companies and organisations, who have large-scale developments operating or planned in Victorian regions including Ballarat, Western Victoria and the Latrobe Valley, made the call in the lead-up to the State Government's announcement regarding emission reduction targets.
The decision on Victoria’s first interim targets to cut emissions across the whole economy is due to be delivered by March 31, 2020.
Chief Executive Officer of Windlab Roger Price said the climate impacts experienced during summer underscore the need for governments to be “courageous and bold” when tackling climate change.
“We have just experienced one of the most difficult summers in living memory - drought, fires, and multiple record setting extreme weather events. This has resulted from a 1.1 degrees of global warming,” he said.
“We can and must act. We have the technology within the electricity sector to be near zero emissions in less than 15 years.”
“Victoria has been one of the leaders and we need them to remain courageous and bold by committing to 1.5°C Emissions Reduction Targets.”
Managing Director of Westwind Tobi Geiger said that wind energy has a crucial role to play in reducing Victoria’s emissions.
“Renewable energy projects, including wind, solar and pumped hydro projects are ready to play their role in drastically cutting
emissions from the electricity sector,” he said.
Westwind is developing the Golden Plains wind farm at Rokewood near Ballarat, which will be the country’s largest wind farm.
The huge-scale renewable energy development will power as many as 500,000 homes and cut emissions by 3.5 million tonnes a year. The construction phase will create 700 jobs in addition to 70 ongoing employment opportunities.
Emissions reduction targets provide huge employment opportunities for regional and rural Victoria, according to Tony Goodfellow, Victorian Organiser for the Australian Wind Alliance. “Wind energy is already a mainstay of employment in Western Victoria, with over 1500 wind farm construction jobs at the moment,” he said.
“Setting ambitious targets will help provide more regional jobs into the future and boost the economic health of regional
communities while moving the state away from fossil fuels.”