The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien has called out the Andrews Labor Government for putting politics ahead of rational energy policy.
Mr O’Brien said the government’s rush to increase the Victorian Renewable Energy Target and set ambitious emissions reductions targets would result in higher energy prices, grid instability and job losses for Gippsland, with Energy Australia warning they could lead to the early closure of Yallourn power station.
Meanwhile the government’s blundering handling of the solar power rebate scheme has hurt local businesses and consumers.
“Labor’s headlong rush to more renewable energy will cost jobs in Gippsland and threaten the reliability and affordability of our power supplies.
“I accept the need to transition away from high-emission power sources, but if not done correctly the government will force the early closure of more Latrobe Valley power stations, leading to price increases and blackouts, as we saw after the closure of Hazelwood.
“Energy Australia, owner of Yallourn, has sent a clear message to the government that its policies could see the plant close well before its scheduled 2032 date.
“History tell us that this will result in significant Gippsland job losses, increased power outages and higher energy prices; yet there is nothing to demonstrate a plan to offset this except renewable energy targets that don’t ensure reliable, dispatchable power is available when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun not shining.
“Increased renewable energy also brings greater conflict with local residents, such as those near the proposed Alberton and Delburn wind farms, who don’t want 250 metre turbines towering over them.”
Mr O’Brien said Labor’s Solar Homes Package had been a debacle from the start.
Applications for Victoria’s Solar Homes Package reached capacity within 60 hours of opening in July, and just 90 minutes after they opened in August. In September the website crashed within minutes.
“Only Labor could make a mess of giving stuff away free. This has been a significant blow to the local solar industry with orders drying up as consumers wait for access to the program.
“Even after increasing the number of rebates available last week, the system still could not cope.
“Labor needs to listen to industry and understand that the headlong rush towards renewables must be balanced by affordable, reliable energy that means Victoria can keep the lights on.”