Australia on Wednesday announced plans to build renewable energy zones, wind projects and underwater electricity interconnectors, as it looks to build its renewable power capabilities and bring more clean energy into its national grid.
The announcements come ahead of the annual budget announcement next week by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese's centre-left Labor government, which won power this year promising climate reforms.
The state of Victoria, which will have an election next month, will get A$1.5 billion ($947.85 million) of concessional financing for Renewable Energy Zones (REZ) and offshore wind development projects, the government said in a statement.
Victoria will also get a concessional loan of A$750 million to ensure the underwater electricity interconnector between Victoria and New South Wales, the VNI West KerangLink, is completed by 2028, the statement said.
The long-awaited interconnector between Victoria and Tasmania across the Bass Strait, known as Marinus Link, also got a boost with the government promising to pay for 80% of the project with a concessional loan from Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
The announcements were the first in Labor's A$20 billion "rewire the nation" policy to modernise and rebuild Australia's national power grid. Australia faced a power crisis this year and narrowly averted blackouts as several coal-fired plants suffered unexpected outages and others cut output because of coal shortages, while gas-fired generators dealt with soaring gas prices caused by global disruptions.
"Rewiring the Nation has always been about jobs in new energy industries, delivering cleaner, cheaper and more secure energy, and bringing down emissions – today it begins doing just that,” Albanese said in the statement.
The government also announced a $1 billion loan for Tasmania’s Tarraleah Power Station redevelopment and Lake Cethana Pumped Hydro project.
($1 = 1.5825 Australian dollars)
(Reuters/Reporting by Praveen Menon. Editing by Gerry Doyle)