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Winners of tender to power Melbourne's tram network with renewable energy announced

The Victorian Government has announced the winning bidders in the tender to power Melbourne's tram network by renewable energy.

At the same time, the Victorian Government has announced plans to legislate the Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET) ensuring that by 2020, 25% of Victoria's energy will come from renewable sources and the target rises to 40% by 2025.

The winning tenders to power Melbourne's tram network with renewable energy were the Bannerton Solar Park located near Robinvale in the state's north-west and the Numurkah Solar Farm directly north of Melbourne.

The Bannerton solar farm is expected to provide 100MW and the Numurkah solar farm is expected to produce 38MW for the Yarra Trams network.

The Victorian Government also announced it will commence the first VRET auction of up to 650MW of new solar and wind renewable energy capacity.

The renewable energy sector will now have the confidence to invest in renewable energy projects and the jobs that are crucial to Victoria’s future.

Lily D'Ambrosio, Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change

State and territory governments are big energy consumers. Think of the schools they own, the state or territory government ultimately pays the electricity bills for them, ditto hospitals, public transport networks and all other state and territory government services.

The reverse auctions are a way for those governments to use their market power to ignite a new wave of electricity generation by offering contracts to buy the output from the new generators.

A good example of this was the ACT government auctions, the first in Australia, which saw the ACT government ultimately sign a deal to buy the electricity output from the Ararat and Coonooer Bridge wind farms in Victoria.

The South Australian Government just last week announced it will buy the electricity output from the first SolarReserve project - a solar thermal generator that has on-site energy storage that can be used when the sun is not shinging or at night - to be located just north of Port Augusta.

Like transport networks, energy generation and transmission networks in Victoria are changing in response to sector-specific particulars, all in the context of very strong population growth in Victoria.

In the energy sector, Victorians are witnessing year on year price rises in the electricity and gas bills and in the electricity sector specifically, consumers who live in detached houses are seeing an increased amount of choice to control their bills through solar panel and battery kits.

For those who live in attached dwellings - which as well know is increasing - the same control over electricity generation and storage is not available to them.

Therefore new grid-connected generation will be key to both increasing price competition as well as help the state meet its emissions reduction targets.

As published in late July, there's plenty planning work underway in Victoria's energy transmission network and AEMO has now embedded a summary of its work into the interactive map. It's worth a look (in the layers/filter options, select 'Victorian Annual Planning Report (WAPR), Network Development and then Current Network Opportunities, click on the green overlay in Western Victoria).

Lead image credit: Wikipedia.

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