By Praveen Menon
SYDNEY, Oct 19 (Reuters) – Australia on Wednesday announced plans to build renewable energy areas, wind projects and undersea power interconnectors as it seeks to boost its renewable energy capabilities and bring more clean energy into its national grid.
The announcements come ahead of the announcement of the annual budget next week by the centre-left Labor government of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, which took power this year promising climate reforms.
The state of Victoria, which is holding elections next month, will receive A$1.5 billion ($947.85 million) in concessional funding for Renewable Energy Zones (REZs) and offshore wind development projects , the government said in a statement.
Victoria will also secure a concessional loan of A$750 million to ensure that the undersea electricity interconnector between Victoria and New South Wales, the VNI West KerangLink, is completed by 2028, the statement said.
The long-awaited interconnector between Victoria and Tasmania across the Bass Strait, known as the Marinus Link, has also received a boost, with the government promising to pay for 80% of the project with a concessional loan from Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
The announcements were the first of the Labor Party’s AU$20 billion “rewire the nation” policy to modernize and rebuild Australia’s national electricity grid.
Australia has faced an electricity crisis this year and narrowly avoided blackouts as several coal-fired power stations suffered unexpected outages and others cut output due to fuel shortages. coal, while gas-fired generators faced soaring gas prices caused by global disruptions.
“Rewiring the nation has always been about jobs in new energy industries, delivering cleaner, cheaper and safer energy, and reducing emissions – today it’s is exactly what he’s starting to do,” Albanese said in the statement.
The government also announced a $1 billion loan for the redevelopment of Tarraleah power station in Tasmania and the Lake Cethana pumped hydro project. ($1 = A$1.5825) (Reporting by Praveen Menon. Editing by Gerry Doyle)