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Melbourne’s tram network to be solar powered

Melbourne trams.
Melbourne trams.

Supplied by the Victorian Government

Melbourne’s iconic tram network will soon be powered entirely by solar energy, thanks to a bold renewable energy initiative by the State Government of Victoria.

The first large-scale solar power plant in Victoria is due to be completed by the end of 2018, and will be built in the state’s north-west.

The announcement forms a part of the Victorian Government’s plans to make the state a leader in renewable energy, committing to energy targets of 25 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025.

The solar power plant will produce 75 megawatts of power, half of which will be linked to Melbourne's extensive tram network.

Melbourne has the largest tram network in the world and is a treasured part of the city’s culture and identity, with 250 kilometres of tracks and more than 203 million passenger trips in 2015-16.

The Victorian Government’s decision to power the network entirely by solar is a move to safeguard the iconic network for generations to come, and to ensure that the state is doing its fair share to combat the effects of climate change.

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Minister Lily D'Ambrosio said that the State Government of Victoria will use its purchasing power as a 'large energy consumer' to boost investment in renewables.

The project is expected to create 300 new jobs and the tender to construct the plant will open in the first half of this year.

The State Government of Victoria will purchase renewable energy certificates from the new plant, with the energy flowing into the broader electricity system.

Renewable energy producers can sell both electricity and renewable energy certificates.

The scheme aims to support capital expenditure of around A$9 billion in renewable energy projects, which would result in about A$2.5 billion of direct investment in the state.

Melbourne tram
One of Melbourne's iconic trams.

Supplied by the Victorian Government

Further information on Victoria's renewable energy targets can be found here.

This material was produced by the Victorian Government.