Out-Law News

Victoria allocates A$540m for renewable energy zones

The state government of Victoria has allocated A$540 million in its 2021 budget for the first stage of development of renewable energy zones (REZs).

The A$540m fund will be used to assist financing of REZ network investments with immediate priority projects including short-term grid remediation solutions over the next four years, according to a guide on REZ development plan.

Details on projects that will benefit from the REZ Fund are expected to be released in May, including procurement and cost recovery models for each investment.

Stage two will involve medium-term investments in REZ infrastructure as well as assessment and community and stakeholder consultation. Private investment is encouraged and invited in this stage.

A new regulatory body called VicGrid has been established for planning and investing in REZ network infrastructure, identifying and applying appropriate procurement, cost recovery and co-funding methods.

Eliza Danby of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, said, "The state is inviting feedback from all stakeholders on the precise functions which the newly-formed VicGrid should perform. Contractors should take advantage of the opportunity to provide input."

A broader REZ implementation plan will be released in July.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has identified REZs as the areas with the biggest potential for renewable energy development. There are six REZs identified in regions across Victoria.

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