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Offshore Wind — Victoria Won’t Wait

Victoria, Australia, will no longer wait for coal companies and energy generators to make up their minds and take action. Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio announced this past week that the state will aim for 95% renewables by 2035. “By 2035 there will be no dirty coal generation in our state,” the minister said. The transition to renewable energy, particularly offshore wind, will “slash emissions and power bills while supporting 59,000 jobs.” Victoria has three remaining coal-fired power stations.

Victoria’s impatience and frustration with the “market” is reflected in its decision to replace “unreliable, privatized coal” with “clean, government-owned, renewable energy.” The Victorian State Energy Commission will invest in 4.5 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable capacity.

The minister says there will be more than enough opportunity for the private sector to invest, given the need for at least 12 GW of new renewable and storage capacity over the coming decade.

The bulk of new renewable and storage investment will be made in offshore wind, from around 2028 on, and mostly in the years between 2030 and 2035. The state has previously announced targets of 2 GW of offshore wind by 2032, 4 GW by 2035, and 9 GW by 2040. The proposed $30 billion investment in offshore wind “is more than the total that will be spent on all other renewable and storage technologies, including onshore wind, rooftop and utility scale solar and storage, and pumped hydro.” Read more here.

Victoria will need to make significant investments in transmission to avoid grid congestion and a repeat of the “rhombus of regret” in solar. The federal government is supporting the move towards renewables with funding and its Rewiring the Nation policy.

In previous articles, I have said that Australia needs more wind. In the middle of the day, most of Australia’s electricity needs can be filled by the massive amounts of solar installed on roofs and in utility scale. But as the sun sets and we start cooking dinner, the gas peaker plants come online and the power costs soar. Wind should solve this problem.

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David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].


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