The Victorian Government has introduced legislation that will set new renewable energy targets for Victoria of 25 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025.
The Premier, Daniel Andrews, has also announced a competitive VRET auction for up to 650 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy capacity, with the first auction expected to bring forward up to $1.3 billion of investment.
In another development for the Victorian renewable energy industry, Mr Andrews announced that tenders for two new solar farms that will power Melbourne's tram network have been awarded to Melbourne-based Syncline Energy and the French owned Neoen Australia .
Syncline's Bannerton Solar Park near Robinvale in the Sunraysia district is expected to provide 100 MW of solar powered electricity. Costing around $150 million to build, it is expected to be commissioned by September 2018.
Neoen's Numurkah Solar Farm near Shepparton is expected to generate 38 MW and will cost around $60 million to build.
The two projects bring the total value of renewable energy and battery storage projects currently under way in Australia to more than $13 billion.
The Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Australian Minister for Energy Josh Frydenberg have criticised the Victorian Government for setting a state-based Renewable Energy Target, but Mr Andrews said it was needed to compensate for the failure of the Turnbull government to implement a long-term national renewable energy target.
"In the absence of policy certainty and leadership from Canberra, it is up to states like Victoria to fill that void to make sure that we are doing everything we can to drive the transition that is incredibly important to create jobs, to create more electricity in the market and to drive down prices,'' he said.
The Renewable Energy (Jobs and Investment) Bill 2017 is available here.