In a major election pitch, Opposition Leader Matthew Guy has unveiled the Coalition’s “Power to the People” policy which would make up to $4,400 available for both solar PV and battery energy storage system to be installed in at least one million Victorian homes.
Under the plan announced at the weekend, Victorian owner-occupiers could earn rebates of up to $1,400 for solar panels and $3,000 for a residential battery energy storage system.
The plan, which would come into play if the Coalition is successful at the 26 November state election, also includes a doubling of the same rebate to about $8,800 for rental properties so that landlords can install the renewable energy technologies on at least 100,000 properties.
Guy said the plan would lower bills and emissions while providing more control over the energy system.
“Our Power to the People plan is a game changer,” he said. “We are going to turbo-charge solar, we are going to turbo-charge batteries. One million Victorian households will be supported to install solar and batteries by 2035.
“We’re going to subsidise the rental market as well. The plan is to ensure Victorian householders and renters will benefit from cheaper energy bills and lower emissions.
“By backing up solar with batteries, (we) will put the power back in households’ hands and make Victoria the heart of renewable energy in Australia.”
Guy said the Power to the People plan will improve the state government’s existing $1.3 billion Solar Homes program by allowing Victorians to claim rebates for both solar PV and batteries, adding that just 33% of rooftop solar systems in the state have included a battery when installed and that these are vital to the state’s energy future.
“Currently, households are forced to choose between support for either solar panels or a battery, not both,” he said. “Our plan gives households control over their power bills and will mean a more stable, lower-emissions grid for the wider community.”
Environment Victoria chief executive officer Jono La Nauze welcomed the announcement, saying installing solar and batteries at the same time makes sense with storage critical for maintaining a reliable energy grid as the nation transitions to renewables.
“The massive boost in support for batteries is a breakthrough that will benefit not just the individual household concerned but the whole energy grid,” he said.
“As ageing coal power stations retire, they need to be replaced by a combination of both renewable generation and storage.”
The Victorian opposition is also promising to legislate an emissions reduction target of 50% by 2030 if it wins the November state election.
The state government has already committed to reduce emissions 50% by the end of the decade but has not legislated the interim target.
Guy said writing the target into law would help drive investment in renewables and provide certainty on the state’s energy future.
“Our country is clearly moving towards emissions reduction targets,” he said.
“We believe that it is time to legislate these targets so that the next phase of the discussion as a state is around implementation, so that the politics is out of this debate once and for all. Then we can move on.”
Under the coalition’s plan to reach the 2030 target, it has pledged to establish a $1 billion hydrogen strategy to support the research, development and adoption of clean hydrogen strategies, upgrade transmission infrastructure in western Victoria to unlock an estimated 1.8 GW of renewables, and set up a taskforce to “fix” the state’s energy grid.
It will also legislate a local gas supply guarantee which would ensure that residents were offered on-shore gas extracted from Victoria first.
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