Renewable energy will form part of the policies of all of Benambra and Ovens Valley’s election candidates, but with very different timeframes.
The rising cost of energy will be a factor for many Victorian voters when they fill out the ballot forms in November’s election.
Coalition incumbents Bill Tilley and Tim McCurdy both see renewable energy as part of the solution, but not like their opponents.
“A Liberal Nationals Government will require that renewable energy projects over $50 million use 75 per cent local Victorian content,” Mr Tilley said.
“This Victorian content will include materials, supplies and labour.”
The Labor Party, represented in Benambra by Mark Tait, has committed to having 25 per cent renewable energy in Victoria by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2040.
But Ovens Valley MP Tim McCurdy said this would be scrapped if the Coalition was elected.
“We see that as being unrealistic, not because we want to do away with renewable, that’s not the case at all. It’s continuing to put the price of electricity up, which people simply can’t afford,” he said. “We do care about the environment, but we also care about communities being able to sustain their cost of living and that’s what’s hitting them at the moment.”
His opponent Tammy Atkins said the way forward was a mix of coal and renewable energy, especially the community-led energy sharing programs like in Yackandandah.
“Systems where we have rooftop solar and small community micro-grids, that really appeals to me more so than where we have larger scale solar farms,” she said.
“What we’re seeing in the North East is government lagging behind in terms of policy and community stepping up and taking the lead, and that’s really exciting.”
Australian Country Party candidate Julian Fidge will support hydroelectricity as “clean, green and renewable energy”, including turning Lake Buffalo near Myrtleford into a Big Buffalo dam.
Benambra candidate Jenny O’Connor said renewable energy should be a driver for growth, with investment in solar farms and the manufacturing industry.
“We need policies for people on low incomes to be able to access solar for their homes and low-energy appliances to help with their energy bills,” she said.
“I don’t think that renewable energy should only be available to people who have enough money to buy it outright.”
Fellow independent candidate Jacqui Hawkins also supported community energy alternatives and the transition away from coal.
“People are already making dividends by switching to these solar and renewable alternatives,” she said.
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