Victoria has announced the official return of the State Electricity Commission (SEC) as a government-owned renewable energy company and confirmed an initial $1 billion investment towards delivering 4.5 GW of power by 2035.
The SEC, previously Victoria’s sole government electricity supplier, was disaggregated and privatised during the late 1990s.
The government announced in February it had engaged a panel of experts to advise on the commission’s return as an energy market proponent and ensure public energy ownership delivered maximum benefits.
The government says the SEC has already received more the 100 registrations of interest from energy market players since it released its Pioneer Investment Mandate detailing project criteria.
Pioneer investments will be announced by the end of this year.
Former Victorian bureaucrat Chris Miller, who was appointed as interim CEO in December 2022, said the SEC would help break the state’s reliance on fossil fuels.
“More than 100 years after it was first established, we’ve brought back the SEC to free Victoria from its reliance on fossil fuels and unlock the opportunities of our renewable energy transition,” he said.
Premier Jacinta Allan on Thursday released the SEC’s Strategic Plan 2023-2035 which sets out priorities to speed the energy transition, support a switch to all-electric households and build a renewable energy workforce.
“The SEC is back,” she said. “We’ll invest in government-owned renewable energy, help households switch to all-electric and build the renewables workforce Victoria needs.”
The SEC will take over the government’s Victorian Renewable Energy Target projects by 2025 and Bulgana contracts from 2025.
It will sell both retail and wholesale electricity, and begin servicing the government’s energy requirements from 2025.
The SEC is back. We’ll invest in government-owned renewable energy, help households switch to all-electric and build the renewables workforce Victoria needs.Premier Jacinta Allan
The commission will also establish a one-stop shop to pilot solutions for household electrification.
It will set up a training centre of excellence and deliver a pipeline of future renewable energy workers to deliver the infrastructure and services needed for the state to reach its target of 95 per cent renewable energy by 2035, the strategy says.
Clean Energy Council Chief Executive, Kane Thornton said governments can play a critical role in markets as regulators and as participants as long as they strike the right balance.
“The detail announced by the Premier today is a welcome step forward and we look forward to partnering with the government on developing the remaining detail.
“The industry has capital that is ready to be deployed, and we welcome the government’s acknowledgement of the importance of partnerships and the role in leveraging enormous private sector investment.”
The SEC will be enshrined in Victoria’s Constitution with legislation set to go before parliament by the end of the year.
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