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Andrews govt’s renewable energy push keeps Victoria on track to zero emissions

Ararat Wind Farm

Friends of the Earth welcomes the Andrews government’s 'VRET 2' announcement of a ‘market sounding’ for 600MW of new renewable energy capacity.

The new capacity will repower government operationsincluding all the state’s schools and hospitals and Melbourne’s train networkwith solar and wind energy.

"Powering the state’s schools, hospitals, and metro trains with renewable energy helps keep Victoria on track to achieve zero emissions," said Cam Walker, Friends of the Earth campaigns coordinator.

"The positive announcement shows that economic recovery programs can benefit the community and the climate. It shows that governments can create jobs while cutting emissions."

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Friends of the Earth estimate that 600MW of new solar and wind energy capacity would:

* Create 600 to 700 construction and manufacturing jobs, and around 100 ongoing operations and maintenance jobs.

* Power the equivalent of about 325,000 Victorian homes. 

* Cut emissions by 1.2 to 1.4 million tonnes per year.

According to annual greenhouse gas reporting, the energy sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Victoria. The transport sector is the second largest and fastest growing source of emissions.

Friends of the Earth say the Andrews government’s focus on repowering Melbourne’s train network with renewables—an idea the organisation has long advocated—is a practical way to cut emissions in both sectors.  

On July 29, the Victorian government announced it had deferred setting the state’s first interim Emissions Reduction Targets in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Friends of the Earth says the Andrews government’s renewable energy announcement reaffirms its commitment to tackling the climate crisis:

"The renewable energy plan shows Victoria can deliver deep emissions cuts and builds momentum for the government to set science-based targets," said Cam Walker. 

Friends of the Earth say the government can build on the momentum, creating thousands more jobs while tackling the climate crisis, by taking the following steps:

* Create an offshore wind roundtable to identify the steps needed to establish a jobs-rich offshore wind sector in Victoria.  

* Commission a pre-feasibility study for the Melbourne Metro 2 tunnel to identify options for the route and model the benefits for commuters, climate, and our economy. 

* Set science-based Emissions Reduction Targets for 2025 and ‘30 to ensure Victoria’s economic recovery is consistent with global efforts to tackle the climate crisis. 

With the Morrison government refusing to act on climate, community members are looking to the state government to show greater leadership.

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