Under the Victorian Renewable Energy Targets (VRET) Victoria aims to produce 25% of its energy from renewables by 2020 and 40% by 2025.
Achieving this would cut the average cost of power for Victorians by around A$30 ($23.7) a year for households, A$2,500 ($1,974) a year for medium-sized businesses and $140,000 ($110,554) a year for large companies, while cutting Victoria’s electricity sector greenhouse gas emissions by 16% by 2034-35, the government said.
A competitive auction will be held for up to 650 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy capacity. That would provide enough electricity to power 389,000 households, the government said.
The government also announced the winners of a tender to help build around 138 MW of new solar projects that will be used to power Melbourne’s tram network. Bannerton Solar Park near Robinvale in the Sunraysia district is expected to provide 100 MW of solar powered electricity, while the Numurkah Solar Farm near Shepparton is expected to generate 38 MW.
Victoria's premier Daniel Andrews said: "Renewable energy creates jobs, drives growth, and protects our environment – and most importantly, helps drive down power prices for Victorian households and businesses."
Australia's Clean Energy Council said the announcement will "turbo charge significant private investment in low cost renewable energy to fill the gap and bring power prices down".
Energy expert Anthony Arrow of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com said: "This is a long awaited but very welcome announcement for a significant number of Victorian projects that have been sitting in abeyance. The Victorian government's strong commitment to both the renewables sector and a cleaner environment is cemented and will deliver economic growth and social and environmental benefits that are much needed in the aftermath of the closure of Hazelwood power station."