THE announcement of six new solar and wind projects for Victoria is another step in the right direction for the development of Ballarat’s renewable training centre says the Committee For Ballarat.
On Tuesday, Premier Daniel Andrews and Energy, Environment and Climate Change minister Lily D’Ambrosio announced the creation of six new wind energy projects which have been secured through Victoria’s first renewable energy auction.
They will produce 928MW of renewable energy, enough to power almost 650,000 households.
In Ararat to make the announcement, Mr Andrews said the projects aimed to generate $1.1 billion of economic investment in regional Victoria and create more than 900 jobs, including 270 apprenticeships and traineeships.
It comes as the results of a $50,000 business case into Federation University’s proposed $11 million training centre is imminent.
Committee For Ballarat chief executive Melanie Robertson said while she was not aware of specific in confidence details surrounding the winning bids, she understood in-principle support for a Ballarat-based training facility formed part of the auction bids.
“We’re talking about 15-30 year jobs,” Ms Robertson said.
“What’s so exciting about the auction, is there’s potentially four to six rounds of this which means there is a really strong policy setting for renewable energy.”
New solar and wind farms will be constructed near regional cities and towns including Geelong, Mildura, Echuca, Warrnambool, Mortlake, and Benalla.
The announcement comes on top of recent approvals for project including Lal Lal windfarm and large-scale proposals for Rokewood, Moorabool and Stockyard Hill.
Ms Robertson said she was encouraged that the biggest sites would all be within 200km of Ballarat, making the city the perfect training centre.
“It’s an energy transformation like we’ve never seen before. Investment like we’ve never seen before,” she said.
Climate Council acting chief executive Martin Rice said the move would boost clean energy generation, contributing towards renewable energy targets.
“This is a major boost for what was once the nation’s brown coal capital,” he said.
“These projects are further evidence that the transition to a national 21st century grid, made up of clean, affordable and reliable renewable energy and battery storage is inevitable and it’s happening now.”
Ms D’Ambrosio said renewable energy creates jobs, drives growth and protects the environment and “helps drive down power prices for Victorian households and businesses.”