Melbourne’s tram network will become solar-powered as proposed by the Andrews government large-scale solar farm projects in northern Victoria as reported by The Guardian
The proposal is part of a plan to reduce Victoria’s net carbon emissions to zero by the year 2050. Tenders to build and operate 75 megawatts of new solar farms will be released in early 2017 and the first solar power plant is expected to be raised by the end of 2018.
Environment and energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the 35 megawatts of the generation from new solar plants would be dedicated to running Melbourne’s tram network, which would reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80,000 tonnes per year. She also said the project will deliver $150 million in capital expenditure to regional Victoria and create 300 jobs.
The Greens welcomed the move to solar-powered trams, saying that it matched a Greens policy that was announced in 2015. However, they also said that it was hypocritical of the Andrews government to promote large-scale while reducing solar feed-in tariffs.
On January 1st, the minimum solar feed-in tariff was reduced from 6.2 cents per kilowatt-hour to 5 cents per kilowatt-hour. D’Ambrosio said the price reduction was a result of the previous Coalition government, and the FiT would go up by 20% in the present rate from July 1st.
As one of Melbourne’s most recognisable city features, the trams will have even more symbolic power when powered by renewable energy, says Environment Victoria chief executive Mark Wakefield.
The proposal follows the announcement last November that the Hazelwood coal-fired station would close.