A coalition of leading wind energy companies and supportive organisations has called on the Victorian Government to set science-based Emissions Reductions Targets that help limit global warming to 1.5C.

The statement comes as the state government enters the final week of its decision-making process on Victoria’s first interim targets to cut emissions across the whole economy. 

Managing Director of Westwind, Tobi Geiger, said, “Renewable energy projects, including wind, solar and pumped hydro projects are ready to play their role in drastically cutting emissions from the electricity sector.”

Westwind is developing the Golden Plains Wind Farm at Rokewood near Ballarat, which will be the country’s largest wind farm.

The farm is expected to power as much as 500,000 homes with clean renewable energy, deliver over 3.5 million tonnes of annual greenhouse gas savings, creating 700 jobs during the construction phase and 70 ongoing.

Chief Executive Officer of Windlab, Roger Price, said the climate impacts experienced during summer underscores the need for governments to be “courageous and bold” when tackling climate change.

“We have just experienced one of the most difficult summers in living memory; drought, fires, and multiple record setting extreme weather events. This has resulted from a 1.1 degrees of global warming.

“We can and must act. We have the technology within the electricity sector to be near zero emissions in less than 15 years.

“Victoria has been one of the leaders and we need them to remain courageous and bold by committing to 1.5C Emissions Reduction Targets.”

The wind industry statement was facilitated by Friends of the Earth and the Australian Wind Alliance.

Friends of the Earth, the group who led the community campaign for the Victorian Renewable Energy Target, says the Andrews government has prepared the energy sector to deliver deep emissions cuts.

Friends of the Earth member Pat Simons, said, “The Victorian Renewable Energy Target is proving that state government efforts to tackle the climate crisis is creating jobs and benefiting the economy.

“Setting science-based Emissions Reduction Targets is the next logical step for the Andrews government and would allow Victoria to build on the momentum and kickstart a jobs-rich offshore wind energy industry.”

The Australian Wind Alliance represents regional community members and wind energy workers and see the Emissions Reduction Targets process as an opportunity for the regional and rural Victoria.  

Australian Wind Alliance Victoria member Tony Goodfellow, said, “Wind energy is already a mainstay of employment in Western Victoria, with over 1500 wind farm construction jobs at the moment. 

“Setting ambitious targets will help provide more regional jobs into the future and boost the economic health of regional communities while moving the state away from fossil fuels.”

The Victorian Government must make its final decision on the Emissions Reduction Targets by 31 March and is expected to announce the final result in May or June 2020.

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