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Victoria’s Ambitions for Wind Power

Victoria’s Ambitions for Wind Power

Victoria is a place that’s had an astounding record of growth in recent decades. When looking at the record of this southern state over the long term, the progress it has made since its emergence from economic crisis in the early 1990s all the way through to today is understandably the envy of many jurisdictions in Australia and around the world. While like with essentially every locale on the planet the outbreak of the pandemic stalled this progress in recent years, the ambition of the state to get back to growth amidst the ‘new normal’ is clear and strong.

Victoria of course already has a number of profitable industries which underpin its present and projected economic growth. Yet, it’s also of course the case that the years and decades ahead will continue to see rapid change to how people live and work each day - especially given the fact that innovation cycles continue to shorten - and that means new technology and processes must be put in place to serve emerging needs. When it comes to the growing demand for clean energy - and jobs and business growth surrounding it - wind power is set to serve as a key part of the state’s plan to become greener and greater in future. That’s why now is a good time to unpack Victoria’s ambitions for wind power.

The Energy Mix of Victoria

The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water’s data from 2022 holds during 2020-21 Victoria had an energy mix which remained highly reliant on fossil fuels. While this was not exceptional - with NSW and QLD also having very similar energy mixes - it was also far from being a leading position in the nation, with Tasmania commendably leading the way by acquiring 47.% of its energy needs during the 20-21 period from renewables.

These stats illustrate the reality that - though there has been a couple of years of planning and pushing towards renewable energy since then - that ultimately, Victoria (alongside other Australian jurisdictions) has to speed up the transition towards 100% renewables this decade, if it’s to be a leading contributor to helping Australia - and the whole world - achieve net zero in time to avoid the worst impacts of climate change occurring. So, what has Victoria been seeking to do with wind power precisely?

Why the State is a Fan of Wind

STC Wind Energy On a Hilltop

The Victorian government announced in March 2022 that it would build the nation’s first offshore wind farms, and in doing so look to grow regional investment and jobs. This new policy intends to create 2GW of offshore generation by 2032, thereafter 4GW by 2035, and ultimately 9GW by 2040. Although the wind turbines built as a result of this plan were not set to start spinning until 2028, it’s estimated that by 2032 the energy created from this new avenue alone would be sufficient to power 1.5 million homes.

Meantime, stats from the Victorian government’s wind energy projects page - at time of writing last updated on October 19th 2022 - detail that there’s already 3593.2MW of capacity from wind power projects presently operating, and there is 2324.6MW of capacity approved, but not yet operational. Furthermore, 998MW of capacity is classified as “Planning permit application lodged and process underway”, and 862MW of capacity is presently under construction.

While as aforementioned Victoria does indeed need to be - as its very memorable license plates proclaimed in years prior - ‘on the move’, ultimately it’s also the case that wind power is already in operation in the state, with more set to come online soon. So, although 2028 and the progress set to unfold once it arrives really can’t come soon enough, it’s also right to recognise the commendable gains made so far, as indeed they’re the result of so much hard work from so many green advocates.

What Can Green Enthusiasts Do if Residential Wind Power Isn’t an Option?

After a discussion here of Victoria’s goals regarding wind power, it’s easy to feel inspired by what this southern state is seeking to get done in this area. Equally, it’s also the case that many longstanding green enthusiasts - as well as those who’ve more recently become green enthusiasts - may now be wondering about the ways in which they can aid in the growth of wind power in Victoria, and wider Australia. There are indeed many ways to engage in direct advocacy surrounding such matters, and it’s also a fact that looking to make your home smarter and more sustainable however possible, is also another terrific avenue to show support for the green goals held across Australia.

Ultimately, when it comes to the installation of wind power in a domestic setting, unfortunately - while wind turbines for residential settings (like farms and properties with a really significant amount of land and the right conditions) do exist around the world - it can be a far more challenging process in comparison to acquiring a rooftop solar system. The fact that a typical Australian residential community is likely to have numerous rooftop solar systems around, but a tall wind turbine would be an unlikely site indeed, helps illustrate this reality. That’s why for any green enthusiasts keen to generate some renewable energy direct on their property, solar power can essentially always be expected to be the easier option to consider and pursue. This fact isn’t a criticism of wind power, but instead a commendation for the advantages solar power can offer in terms of the ease in which it can be acquired and used in so many settings.

A rooftop solar system can drive down the cost of electricity prices today, and provide some defence against any rise of them tomorrow. What’s more, even if a conventional rooftop solar system isn’t an option - say due to limited space on the roof or other factors which make a rooftop installation unsuitable - alternatives such as a ground-mounted solar system, and/or portable solar panels can be other options for acquiring and utilising solarpower. For more renewable energy content, please check out our blogs here.

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