Market search underway for Victoria’s new public energy and storage utility

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The Victorian government has launched a market search for a large-scale renewable energy generation and storage project to kickstart its revival of the publicly owned State Electricity Commission (SEC) in a push to deliver cheaper power bills and lower emissions for Victorians.

Minister of the State Electricity Commission Lily D’Ambrosio rolled out the SEC’s Pioneer Investment Mandate on Thursday, which includes the project requirements for the SEC’s first investment, to be announced by the end of this year.

The SEC said it has met with possible investors and renewable energy companies; the next step is to launch a Registration of Interest process, which will invite potential market players to identify viable renewable energy generation and storage projects across Victoria beginning 2 May.

In particular, the market search will contribute to the development of a pipeline of long-term investment prospects, generating jobs and investment while assisting Victoria in meeting its nation-leading renewable energy ambitions.

Victoria must host the successful project, which must also advance the SEC’s goals of quickening the move away from coal. 

Furthermore, it will supply reliable and affordable zero-emissions power to Victorian households, businesses and industries.

The successful project would have a minimum generation capacity of 100MW, the documents say, “with a preference for larger capacity,” and this could include a portfolio of multiple projects aggregating to a larger capacity.

According to the mandate, the SEC is also open to co-located storage capacity with existing or proposed renewable projects, and standalone storage projects in excess of 100MW of capacity with a range of storage durations.

This is an exciting turning point for the SEC, Minister D’Ambrosio remarked, adding that by developing and making investments in renewable generation and storage, she looks forward to collaborating with partners to enhance the quantity of dependable, emissions-free energy available on the market.

“We’re bringing back the SEC to give our state greater control of our power supply, owned by Victorians, for Victorians – delivering more reliable and affordable energy and a new 59,000-strong skilled workforce,” the minister noted.

By reviving the SEC, Victoria said it will be able to generate 95 per cent renewable energy by 2035 and contribute to the goal of net zero emissions by 2045, which would result in the creation of 59,000 jobs in the renewable energy industry.

The SEC will invest an initial $1 billion towards delivering 4.5 gigawatts of power through new-build renewable energy and storage projects – the same capacity of coal-fired power station Loy Yang A, which is scheduled to close in 2035.

With input from the Expert Advisory Panel, the SEC is developing a 10-year strategic plan to guide its long-term investment mandate.

Developers interested in participating in the market search can see the Pioneer Investment Mandate and register their interest through this link