Wind farm to ‘cut prices’ despite ‘four years of increases’

Daniel Andrews

A 99-turbine wind farm west of Geelong will help deliver “lower power prices and more jobs” for Victorians, according to Premier Daniel Andrews.

But the opposition has seized on the claim, citing a $500 increase in power prices under Mr Andrews and “hundreds of millions of dollars” in subsidies for the proposed wind farm and five others.

The Andrews Government highlighted Berrybank Wind Farm this week as one of projects to win funding under Victoria’s first renewable energy “auction”.

Berrybank, off the Hamilton Hwy 100km west of Geelong, would produce 180MW of the auction winners’ combined 928MW in promised power.

The power would cut 16 per cent of “emissions” from Victoria’s electricity generators by 2035 while helping the state toward its target of 40 per cent renewable energy within seven years, the government said.

The government expected the targets to drive around $9 billion of investment and create more than 11,000 jobs over the life of the Victorian Renewable Energy Targets (VRET) scheme.

“It’s simple: greater supply of renewable energy means lower power prices and more jobs for Victorian families,” Mr Andrews said.

“We’re making Victoria the capital of renewable energy and supporting the thousands of local jobs it creates.”

Energy and resources shadow minister David Southwick asked why Mr Andrews thought he could “fix” power prices 75 days out from an election after delivering only price increases for the previous four years.

“If Victorian taxpayers are paying hundreds of millions of dollars to subsidise this, then it’s not really cheap energy at all,” Mr Southwick said.

“In fact, it means Victorian taxpayers are paying for this extra electricity twice.

Having helped to push up electricity prices by forcing the closure of Hazelwood, Daniel Andrews is now looking to taxpayers to help buy his way out of political trouble.

Electricity prices have gone up around $500 a household under Daniel Andrews, but a few months out from an election he suddenly claims he can fix it.”

Mr Andrews was a “desperate Premier” leading “a panicked government”, Mr Southwick said.

“Daniel Andrews has had four years to fix electricity prices and 75 days out from the election he says he has an idea but can’t or won’t say what it will cost taxpayers.”

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