Portland Renewable Energy Hub

QUESTION WITHOUT NOTICE

Mr  PURCELL (Western Victoria) — The matter I raise tonight is for the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water. There is growing potential for renewable energy in western Victoria. This is being led by the wind industry, which has put in a number of planning applications and will hopefully have some extra wind turbines on the ground in the new year. Also this week the first wave energy project was started in Port Fairy by BioPower Systems, a company that has a $21 million pilot project, and it will be great to see the results. The wave energy project will feed 250 kilowatts of renewable energy into the national grid, and a lot of that will be used by the abalone farm just onshore from where the pilot project is being put in place.

There are numerous other opportunities for renewable energy in western Victoria, including geothermal energy, which the township of Portland and its council has previously used in hospitals and public buildings. There is the manufacture of turbines, particularly wind turbines, and the potential for the manufacture of other renewable technologies such as solar. Currently a lot of the panels are imported through the port of Portland and distributed throughout the state. In relation to biomass from wood pellets the Glenelg Shire Council has approximately 25 per cent of the state's pine plantations. Biochar from organic waste for cogeneration and liquid natural gas are alternative fuels.

Supportive communities of businesses such as the port of Portland, Keppel Prince and Skilled Engineering as well as many other businesses including many skilled operators are keen to see this area developed. The city of Portland is perfectly situated and enthusiastic about moving into renewable energy and becoming the renewable energy hub of Australia. I ask the minister to financially support the development of this hub in Portland.