1 September 2010 – The Victorian Government has announced it will establish a new Office of Solar Energy and commit $30 million to support renewable energy.

Victorian Premier John Brumby said that the $30 million funding boost will support the development of alternative energy technologies, including $5 million for projects in the Latrobe Valley.

“This initiative is about partnering with industry to develop the technologies needed for the future to deliver clean energy for Victorian households,” Mr Brumby said.

“The funding will be available for parties interested in developing pilot-scale demonstration projects or research and development proposals for sustainable energy technologies in areas such as solar, wave, geothermal and bio-energy.”

Mr Brumby said the Office of Solar Energy would bring the state’s solar initiatives together under one umbrella.

“This new office will become the first point of contact for industry, small business, the community and educational institutes looking for information about Victoria’s solar potential and work already underway,” Mr Brumby said.

The Green Building Council of Australia chief executive of the GBCA Romilly Madew welcomed the move but said more needed to be done if the state was to achieve its commitment of a 20 per cent cut in emissions by 2020.

“The Brumby Government continues to demonstrate strong leadership in the area of climate change, and we welcome the government’s willingness to partner with industry to produce and operate technologies which accelerate the development of renewable energy options,” Ms Madew said.

“We do believe that more work needs to be done if Victorians are to cut their emissions by at least 20 per cent by 2020. Residential and commercial buildings are responsible for 23 per cent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, which means that buildings should be a top priority for government action.

“There is a wealth of research that supports our message – that buildings represent the single largest opportunity for greenhouse gas abatement, outstripping the energy, transport and industry sectors combined. With the right policy support, green building can be a cost-effective solution to the nation’s climate change challenges,” she said.