Environment Victoria pushes for electrification during lockdown

ENVIRONMENT Victoria has put a series of energy projects to the Victorian state government as measures to “build back better” during the lockdown brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Environment Victoria pushes for electrification during lockdown Environment Victoria pushes for electrification during lockdown Environment Victoria pushes for electrification during lockdown Environment Victoria pushes for electrification during lockdown Environment Victoria pushes for electrification during lockdown

Urges rooftop solar pv spending spree

Mark Tilly


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The body realised the lockdown was essential, but said the Daniel Andrews-led Labor government could use it to accelerate economic activity which could help deliver on the government's decarbonisation commitments. 

It recommends immediate steps including rooftop pv installation on public, indigenous and low-income rental housing, as households feel the squeeze on their energy bills as they stay at home in lockdown. 

It also advises this could be expanded to public schools, sporting club facilities and other public buildings, given these facilities are currently closed, as well as public health facilities due to the increased energy demand hospitals in the state currently face. 

"This would be a perfect opportunity to keep skilled workers employed, while also serving to reduce running costs for schools across the state," it said. 

The report also urged the state to use the recently passed amendments to the National Electricity (Victoria) Act to accelerate the construction of transmission lines and additional battery storage. 

The Andrews government recently passed the act to speed up the process of installing urgently needed transmission to support grid-scale renewables, with state energy minister Lily D'Ambrosio describing the previous rules as slow to change and not fit for purpose. 

Environment Victoria emphasised investor confidence would be shaken during the economic recovery and governmental leadership is needed for larger scale projects. 

"Investable conditions are going to be hard to come by across the entire economy and this is an area where the Victorian government can almost single-handedly provide investment certainty right now, even during the shutdown," it said. 

The International Energy Agency is recommending any post-COVID-19 stimulus package should involve a spend on renewable energy.

Environment Victoria also recommended accelerating the replacement of gas heaters and gas hot water systems with electric alternatives which would "avoid any need for additional gas supply projects that present unnecessary environmental risks."

The Australian Capital Territory has recently released plans begin to halt expansion of gas networks in new Canberra suburbs, however this has been met with contention, with Bioenergy Australia saying the networks can be used in the future with the introduction of biogas, which they argue is a cheaper alternative to complete electrification. 




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