The State Electricity Commission (SEC) has been resurrected with the Victorian government unveiling a 12-year strategy that includes support for 4.5 GW of clean energy development, funding for domestic electrification, as well as backing for developing long-duration energy storage projects.
Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan launched the SEC’s Strategic Plan 2023-2035 in Melbourne, saying the state-owned body will focus on investing to accelerate the energy transition, supporting the transition to all-electric households, and establishing a renewable energy workforce.
“The SEC is back: we’ll invest in government-owned renewable energy, help households switch to all-electric and build the renewables workforce Victoria needs,” she said.
“We’re putting power back in the hands of Victorians, giving them the tools they need to lower household energy bills and make the most of the cheap renewable energy that will supply the grid.”
Allan said the SEC’s initial $1 billion will support the development of 4.5 GW of renewable generation and energy storage assets, including 2.6 GW by 2028, and build industry confidence to attract further investment down the line.
This renewables capacity will be used to supply commercial and industrial customers and power government buildings, helping to achieve the target for all Victorian government operations and facilities to be powered by 100% renewable electricity by 2025.
The SEC will also assume responsibility for the state’s renewable energy target projects by 2025 – which amount to 1.2 GW of renewable energy generation in addition to the 4.5 GW.
A major energy supplier in the state before it was privatised in the 1990s, the SEC was revived earlier this year with an initial registrations of interest process attracting more than 100 applications with a total combined market capacity of 24 GW of generation and 30 GW of storage capacity.
The SEC’s pioneer investment is expected to be announced before the end of the year.
Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the achieving the targets set out in the strategic plan will require seamless coordination across industry and government.
“By 2035, Victoria will need 25 GW of renewable energy in the grid – and the SEC will be critical in securing the investment and workforce we need for the job,” she said.
“Victoria has some of the most ambitious emissions reductions targets in the world, and the SEC and its role accelerating the transition to renewables will be the key driver to achieving this.”
The measures outlined by the Victorian government have been welcomed by the clean energy industry but Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said the state needs to ensure that the SEC strikes the right balance.
“It is vital that when governments make market interventions, that all consequences are taken into consideration,” he said. “We know that those poised to make significant investments are very keen to learn the remaining detail from Victoria, and all Australian governments to inform their decision-making.”
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