Published on : Thursday, January 19, 2017
Under a proposal by the Andrews government, the tram network of Melbourne will be entirely solar-powered. The authority is planning to build large-scale solar farms in northern Victoria following the plan to reduce Victoria’s net carbon emissions to zero by 2050.
Tenders to build and operate 75MW of new solar farms will be released in early 2017 and the first solar power plant is expected to be completed by the end of 2018. The environment and energy minister, Lily D’Ambrosio, said 35MW of the generating power of the new solar plants would be dedicated to running Melbourne’s tram network, which would reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80,000 tonnes per year.
D’Ambrosio said in a statement that they will be using the purchasing power as a large energy consumer to boost investment in renewables and create new jobs for Victorians. The new step will eventually help to position Victoria as a leader in climate change, by reducing emissions and adapting to the impacts. the project is expected to deliver $150m in capital expenditure to regional Victoria and create 300 jobs.
The Greens welcomed the move to solar-powered trams, saying it matched a Greens policy announced in 2015, but said it was hypocritical of the Andrews government to promote large-scale solar while cutting solar feed-in tariffs.
The minimum solar feed-in tariff was reduced from 6.2 cents per kilowatt hour to five cents per kilowatt hour on 1 January.