A large-scale renewable energy auction attracted roughly six times the capacity put to tender in the 650W scheme – Victoria’s first and Australia’s largest – the state energy minister has stated.

Victorian Minister Lily D’Ambrosio stated in her address at the event hosted by CEDA (Committee for Economic Development of Australia) that the response to the reverse auction had been “overwhelming,” closing with more than 15 proposals totaling over 3,500MW of new wind and solar capacity.

“There is a hugely competitive field of wind and solar power projects which the government is currently evaluating – and successful bids will be announced later this year,” she said.

“These are firm proposals, with approvals in place, ready to go. And they’re proof that when you provide the market with policy certainty – the market is ready and willing to respond.”

She said that the projects “will attract up to $1.3 billion of investment, create 1,250 construction jobs over two years, and 90 ongoing jobs.” This will be mainly in regional Victoria.

The minister opened her speech with comments on the federal government’s proposed NEG (National Energy Guarantee), effectively stating that her Labor government will not be supporting in its current form.

“Our government has made it clear from the beginning – we want a national energy policy that is affordable, reliable and increasingly renewable, with a clear pathway to significantly reducing carbon emissions,” she said.

“We won’t be signing up to anything that undermines or puts a break on Victoria’s nation-leading renewable energy agenda and climate change policies. There are too many investment dollars and jobs at stake.

“Otherwise the only guarantee is that we won’t support it.”

The Victorian minister’s comments delivered yet another blow to the Turnbull government’s beleaguered policy proposal, which federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg just yesterday described as the only option on the table, and the “last chance for bipartisanship” on national energy reform.

But D’Ambrosio stopped short of entirely ruling out Victoria’s support of the NEG, pending the development of more detail around some of its core and most controversial proposals.

She added that they see more detail around and the design and key elements of the NEG then they’ll “be better placed to determine the way forward”.

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