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Labor should unlock onshore gas reserves

The Andrews Government has been urged to unlock the state’s onshore gas reserves and stop the shutdown of any further coal-fired power stations in Victoria.

Member for Western Victoria, Simon Ramsay, has told the Victorian Parliament that the state’s energy generation must be secured to avoid South Australian-style blackouts.

“The Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, needs to review the implications of her Government’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) of 40% by 2025,” he said.

There are currently 676 wind turbines operating in Victoria and another 1,023 have been approved, but not built.

“But they are not even half of the 3,564 approximately needed to make an additional 5400 megawatts of power to overcome the loss of Hazelwood’s 1600MW, plus what’s needed to reach the target”.

Mr Ramsay said that number of turbines will change Western Victoria’s hinterlands into industrial zones.

“Victoria must have a sensible energy mix of coal, gas and renewables as part of a national model. Rushing to a random RET is reckless without guaranteed supply.

“Already that supply looks uncertain – even backup generators are being installed at Parliament House.  What does that tell you?”

Mr Ramsay estimates it will cost the state at least $3 billion to build the number of turbines needed – five times more than what are currently operating

“The numbers are incredible – and that’s not to mention the unrest all this will cause.  Can you even imagine the panel and VCAT hearings to achieve this?

“They won’t have time.  The target won’t be met.

“Dan Andrews needs to be sensible.  I’m asking his Energy Minister to enable the state’s onshore gas reserves to be tapped where it is safe to do so.

“I’m not for fracking, but I am supportive of conventional gas extraction.  The closure of Hazelwood has altered the energy landscape and put the supply of an essential service in doubt.

“We must be cognisant of the changing times and implications.  The status quo no longer exists.

“We must have a contemporary, sensible response that keeps the lights on and Victoria in business,” said Mr Ramsay.