Speech delivered on Wednesday 23 March 2016 to Victorian Parliament:
Ms SANDELL (Melbourne) — Victorians want a Victorian renewable energy target (VRET). The Greens took this policy to the last election, and although Labor members refused to commit to it during the election campaign, we are thrilled that they have seen the mounting pressure from the community and will now make it happen. As an announcement seems imminent, I would like to make sure my Labor colleagues are aware of the community’s criteria for a successful VRET. Firstly, the VRET must be large enough to actually be effective.
Labor has talked about reaching a target of 20 per cent renewable energy by 2020. This might sound nice, but in fact, because of the federal renewable energy target, a target of 20 per cent is essentially business as usual. It will do nothing to drive new renewable energy. We need a target of much more than 20 per cent if we want to build any new clean energy. If we are serious about acting on climate change, we need a target that will take Victoria to 100 per cent renewable energy as soon as possible.
Secondly, the VRET must come with a plan to phase out coal. Currently we have too much coal power in the grid, and because of the way the market works, this is locking out investment in new renewable energy. A plan to build renewable energy will unfortunately be meaningless without eliminating at least some coal from our energy mix. I urge the Labor government to make sure the VRET is large enough to be effective.