Councils talk renewables and transmission lines with Energy Minister

The Murray River Group of Councils was pleased to meet Thursday with the Victorian

Energy minister, the Hon Lily D’Ambrosio MP to discuss the huge potential for large scale

renewable energy generation the region and especially, what is holding back investment:

the constrained transmission network.

Cr Bill Moar, Chair of the group said “We have an extraordinary solar resource here in

northern Victoria and there is overall community support.”

“The problem is the transmission lines. They just don’t have enough capacity. If they can

be upgraded, then the Murray Valley is primed to become Victoria’s clean energy valley

– a real powerhouse of solar electricity generation”

“We were very happy that the Minister took the time to meet with us we had a really

positive discussion. It’s clear that she understands the importance and the need for these

upgrades and how they will help Victoria to meet its 50% renewable energy target” Cr

Moar said.

The group noted that the Victorian Government is supportive of the Kerang Link project for

a new NSW to Victoria interconnector being investigated by AEMO currently. MRGC

believes this infrastructure is vital for the future stability of the Victorian electricity network

and to open up the massive solar opportunities that exist in the Murray Valley.

For the MRGC, the issues are the length of time that the AEMO process will take and the

uncertainty that it has introduced. The Group shared its concern over the timing of the

project with the Minister. “There is enormous interest from investors in building solar farms in

our region but they need certainty to go ahead.”

“If we can get the transmission lines upgraded in the next few years, we can potentially

unlock something like 4 gigawatts of solar farms that already have planning permits in our

region. That’s a game changer for northern Victoria amounting to somewhere around $5

billion in investment.”

“But if the transmission capacity isn’t there then investors can’t commit. Minister

D’Ambrosio understands this and we know she is working hard on it. We are grateful for

her time today” said Cr Moar.

The Murray River Group of Councils comprises six councils in northern Victoria, Mildura and

Swan Hill Rural City Councils and Loddon, Gannawarra, Campaspe and Moira Shires.

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