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Construction of the World's Largest Solar Power Station to Start in 2009


A Victorian Government seed grant of $50 million will help deliver the world's largest photovoltaic (PV) solar power station to be built in northern Victoria, in a win for the state's environment, innovation and economy, the Premier John Brumby announced today.

Mr Brumby welcomed the decision by TRUenergy to invest $290 million in renewable energy company Solar Systems to build the 154MW solar power station, with construction due to begin in 2009, once the site has been finalised.

"This investment by TRUenergy follows on from the $50 million contribution by the Victorian Government and $79.5 million from the Commonwealth in 2006 towards this leading-edge solar power station," Mr Brumby said.

"Climate Change is our biggest challenge for the future. It is also an opportunity. Climate change demands investment in new power technology, like this state-of-the-art solar power station.

"This project is a win-win-win. It's a win for the environment - set to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 396,000 tonnes a year. It's a win for innovation with the most efficient PV modules in the world to be built in Victoria. And a win for the economy, delivering new investment and jobs."

Welcoming the announcement with Commonwealth Climate Change Minister Senator Penny Wong and Victorian Energy and Resources Minister Peter Batchelor, Mr Brumby said the project delivered investment across the state - with PV modules made in Melbourne, a pilot stage in Bendigo and the large-scale power station in the state's north west.

"This entire project to build and operate the world's largest PV solar power station will lead to 950 jobs during construction and 44 ongoing roles," Mr Brumby said.

Mr Brumby said the interim Garnaut Review, which he received on behalf of the Council for the Australian Federation last week, further emphasised the need to take practical and decisive action now to address climate change for the future.

"Interim findings from Professor Garnaut show that we must act now to address Climate Change," Mr Brumby said.

"This work on our new low carbon economy has been driven by the States and Territories. Thankfully we now have the will in Canberra to address this issue so critical to our future."

Energy and Resources Minister Peter Batchelor said the Abbotsford manufacturing plant was capable of producing more than 50 megawatts of PV modules each year - the highest capacity in the southern hemisphere - with the possibility to expand in the future.

Mr Batchelor said construction of the full-sized power station in 2009 will follow the completion of the demonstration plant currently being built at Bridgewater, near Bendigo.

"The investment potential for Victoria is clearly attractive, as today's announcement by TRUenergy shows," Mr Batchelor said.

"In the areas of solar, wind, wave and geothermal energy - as well as clean coal technology - Victoria has huge potential for investment and advancement, with room for new players to bring development proposals to the table."

He said the State Government's Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET) scheme played a crucial role in attracting the Solar Systems project. The VRET facilitates a market in renewable energy by ensuring retailers buy 10 per cent of their power from renewable sources by 2016.

"Through the VRET and the Energy Technology and Innovation Strategy, Victoria is attracting key investments that will deliver for the environment and the economy now and into the future," Mr Batchelor said.





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