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Sheed not ready to take sides

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February 17, 2017

Suzanna Sheed wants to wait and see the details before she takes sides on a proposal from Victorian Opposition leader Matthew Guy to wind back the state’s renewable energy target.

Suzanna Sheed wants to wait and see the details before she takes sides on a proposal from Victorian Opposition leader Matthew Guy to wind back the state’s renewable energy target.

The Member for Shepparton said it was too early to declare which way she would go on the opposition’s call to scrap the Victoria Renewable Energy Target.

‘‘It seems to me that the Victorian community would like to move to cleaner and more environmentally friendly power supplies, but at the same time they want a very secure and reasonably-priced supply,’’ Ms Sheed said.

‘‘During the course of the past week there has been a lot of conflicting information that leaves the general public generally anxious about future power supplies across the country.’’

Ms Sheed said she wanted a full briefing from Mr Guy before he introduced any bill in parliament to scrap the target.

Mr Guy promised to scrap the target if his party won government, which he said had put upward pressure on electricity prices that had already increased by 117 per cent in 10 years.

He warned the state could risk its energy security if it continued to place a high reliance on renewables.

‘‘Unless we act, Victoria is bound to have regular South Australian-style blackouts because of Daniel Andrews,’’ Mr Guy said.

‘‘After Hazelwood Power Station retires in March 2017, expected firm capacity reserves in Victoria are projected to reduce to -145MW in summer 2017-18 at times of peak demand.

‘‘Imports from NSW or Tasmania will be required to meet demand under these conditions.’’

The target commits the state to generate 25 per cent of its energy from renewables by 2020, with an increase to 40 per cent in 2025.

Energy and Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio accused Mr Guy of jeopardising investment in renewable energy that could lead to jobs in regional Victoria.

‘‘Matthew Guy’s plan will kill thousands of jobs, increase electricity prices and send emissions soaring,’’ Ms D’Ambrosio said. She suggested Mr Guy could be following the lead of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who has recently sparked a national debate about the cost of renewable energy.

‘‘He’s just shown every Victorian he’s Malcolm’s guy, no matter how many jobs it costs,’’ Ms D’Ambrosio said.

‘‘No matter how hard Malcolm Turnbull pushes, industry is saying that new coal-fired power stations won’t be built.’’

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