The Victorian Government is in secret talks with New South Wales to extend its compulsory clean energy scheme beyond state boundaries.
The Government confirmed yesterday it was negotiating with NSW for the two states to buy and sell renewable power to help meet mandatory targets for clean energy use.
But it has denied it is in talks with the Tasmanian Government for a similar deal, despite claims from a Tasmanian wind farm proponent that trade talks are under way.
Government spokeswoman Stacy Hume confirmed the discussions with NSW were to negotiate “a scheme with reciprocal rights between the particular states”.
It’s the first sign the Victorian Government planned to push its compulsory green energy scheme, known as the Victorian Renewable Energy Targets, beyond state boundaries.
The scheme is based on laws requiring 10 per cent of all electricity sold in Victoria by 2010 to have come from a renewable energy supply such as wind or solar power.
The laws, designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by forcing retailers to buy clean energy, were introduced last year and applied to Victorian-based energy producers only.
But NSW allows its energy retailers to buy clean energy from any power generators in Australia that sell into the national electricity market, or grid.
Australian Wind Energy Association CEO Dominique La Fontaine believed an expansion beyond the state’s boundaries would encourage the industry.
“If we are able to establish a Victoria, NSW and Tasmanian energy target scheme that would be of benefit to the industry,” Ms La Fontaine said.
Victorian laws require that electricity retailers buy 10 per cent of their power from renewable energy generators by 2010.
By comparison, the Federal Government’s scheme is only for 2.5 per cent by 2010, and most retailers have already reached their targets so there is no incentive for clean energy.
NSW has the nation’s most ambitions renewable energy targets.
Its 10 per cent goal by 2010 has risen to 15 per cent by 2020.
Liberal Leader Ted Baillieu, opposed to the Victorian scheme, said he remained sceptical about its effectiveness.
Mr Baillieu said the way to cut greenhouse emissions was to tackle polluting industry such as the coal-fired power stations in the Latrobe Valley.
By Ellen Whinnett, state politics reporter
January 29, 2007
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