The Australian state of Victoria is investing in new solar farms to power Melbourne’s tram network.
Large solar plants capable of producing 75 megawatts (MW) of renewable electricity will be built in the state by the end of 2018, leading to an estimated reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of more than 80,000 tonnes a year.
A tender for the construction of the plants will be launched in the first half of this year as part of the government’s target of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
Served by a fleet of more than 400 trams, Melbourne is often described as having the largest light rail network in the world.
Around 35MW of the green electricity, the same amount as is used by Melbourne’s tram network, will be bought back by the state in the form of renewable energy certificates (RECs).
Every megawatt hour of electricity generated by the solar farms will be equal to one REC: the certificates are a form of renewable energy currency.
Although the energy produced by the solar farms will feed directly into the grid, the certificates allow the state to say that the energy it is using comes from a renewable source.
Announcing the scheme, Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said: “We will use our purchasing power as a large energy consumer to boost investment in renewables and create new jobs for Victorians.
“We’re positioning Victoria as a leader in climate change, by reducing emissions and adapting to the impacts.”