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The Victorian Government has unveiled new nation-leading targets for renewable energy storage, legislating 2.6GW of storage capacity by 2030 and committing $157 million for new generation and storage projects.

The new targets, the most ambitious of any state, legislate requirements for 2.6GW of renewable energy storage capacity by 2030, with an increased target of 6.3GW of storage by 2035.

The State Government claims the targets are expected to secure 12,700 jobs and $1.7 billion in investment from 2023 to 2035. 

The targets were announced alongside a new $157 million package for renewable energy generation and storage projects, during a press conference attended by Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, and Victorian Minister for Energy, Lily D’Ambrosio.

“Victoria is already the renewable energy capital of Australia, and now, we’ll have the biggest energy storage targets in the country too,” Mr Andrews said.

“We’ve cut emissions by more than any other state, tripled the amount of renewable energy and created thousands of jobs. We’re not just talking about climate action – we’re getting on with it.”

Victoria’s new storage targets include both short and long-duration energy storage systems – which can hold more than eight hours of energy – including batteries, hydroelectricity and hydrogen technologies.

To support these targets, the Federal Government will invest $119 million from the $540 million Renewable Energy Zone Fund in a 125MW big battery and grid forming inverter in the Murray Renewable Energy Zone, between Bendigo and Red Cliffs.

The announcement has been met with support from renewable advocacy groups and industry bodies including the Clean Energy Council (CEC), and the Australian Energy Council (AEC).

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Officer, Kane Thornton, said the announcement would benefit the state’s growing renewable economy.

“Today’s announcement will be a boon for energy consumers and clean energy investors as Victoria’s renewable energy future takes shape,” Mr Thornton said.

“The Australian Energy Market Operator has made it clear that significant amounts of new energy storage capacity is needed. 

“By committing to delivering on big targets for energy storage, the Victorian Government is sending a critical signal that will help bring much-needed investment to the state.

“The significant jump in storage planned between 2030 and 2035 is the latest recognition that Victoria’s remaining coal generators are unlikely to last much beyond 2030. Ensuring adequate energy storage is in place ahead of those retirements is sensible planning by the Victorian Government.”

The AEC’s General Manager Corporate Affairs and Retail, Ben Barnes, said the announcement was acknowledgement that new investment in storage will be critical to a successful energy transition.

“Nationally, energy ministers have committed to a capacity mechanism to ensure the future reliability of the grid, so it’s important to ensure any state-based approaches don’t affect the success of that work, which is well underway,” Mr Barnes said.

“It’s important that the target’s design sends the right signals to attract market investment, and does not detract from a national, competitive approach to delivering reliable energy.

“We look forward to engaging closely with the Government over the coming months to ensure the storage target is designed in a manner that provides certainty to investors, and enables the energy transition to occur at least cost to consumers.”

The State Government took the opportunity to also announce the four recipients chosen for its $38.2 million from the Energy Innovation Fund (EIF).

The latest EIF round will provide $7 million for a 100MW battery and inverter in Terang, as well as $19.3 million for two bioenergy projects at farms in Gippsland and Barwon.

Yarra Valley Water will receive $11.9 million to install an electrolyser to make renewable hydrogen using recycled water in Wollert.

The EIF directly supports the commercialisation of emerging renewable energy technologies. These projects unlock more than $160 million of commercial investment, build local knowledge and deliver 150 jobs.

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