Victoria, Australia to Ramp Up Solar Production
The Government of Victoria, Australia’s second-most populous state, hasannounced plans to introduce a feed-in tariff program to boost itselectricity supply from solar power to 5% by 2020.
This move represents the country’s first such large-scale initiativeproviding subsidies that will pay solar companies a premium rate to make their technology competitive with coal, gas and wind power.
An initial step toward moving away from coal-fired power to renewables, the State Government has set an interim target of generating 500gigawatt hours of solar-powered electricity by 2014, enough to supplysome 90,000 households.
Victoria expects to construct up to 10 new solar power plants,including a 154-megawatt facility outside the city of Mildura that isbeing backed by $50 million of investment from the state and $75 million from the federal government.
According to Premier John Brumby, the new initiative will allowVictoria to draw up to 25% of its power from clean sources by 2020,generating as much as $2 billion in new regional solar investment.
The news comes on the heels of a report to the Victorian Governmentby engineering consulting firm Sinclair Knight Merz that said the statecould potentially produce more than eight times more energy than itneeds from renewable sources like wind, solar, geothermal and wave power.
Although Australia has yet to capitalize on its clean energypotential, the country is increasingly working to better take advantageof its renewable resources and technology for energy efficiency.
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