The Victorian Parliament has approved the inclusion of hydro electricity in a list of included energy sources as part of the Victorian Renewable Energy Target.
The amendment, presented by State Member for Eastern Victoria Jeff Bourman, was passed with the support of the Victorian upper house.
Mr Bourman, who represents the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party, said a shift towards hydro would see job and water security returned to the region.
“This amendment has the potential to return the region of Eastern Victoria to the top of energy production in the state.”
He said research from the Australian National University had identified 4400 sites across Victoria that would be suitable for hydro dams or pumped hydro, most of which are found in Eastern Victoria.
“If even only a fraction of these sites were utilised, this would offset the loss of power generation and jobs as a result of the future closure of coal power plants in Eastern Victoria.
“This amendment aims to place hydro electricity at the forefront of future renewable energy plans in Victoria.
“Previously, only solar and wind electricity where listed in legislation; this has been reflected in the government prioritising only wind and solar in future generation plans.
“The unanimous support of all sides of parliament will send a clear signal to the government that a move towards hydro should be explored.”
Mr Bourman said the region of Eastern Victoria had seen a glimmer of hope that future development of hydro power stations would see jobs in the energy sector saved.
“In addition, the water security that these systems would produce will also move the region towards future drought-proofing.”