The Federal Government and private industry are making an initial investment of $23 million into a renewable energy park in Victoria’s Gippsland region to replace existing coal-fired energy plants.

With EnergyAustralia bringing forward the closure of its Yallourn brown coal plant by four years to 2028, and AGL bringing forward the closure of its Loy Yang A power station (pictured above) near Traralgon, in east Victoria, from 2048 to 2045, the Gippsland Renewable Energy Park will boost electricity supply and local jobs as the Latrobe Valley transitions to clean energy.

The Federal Government’s Clean Energy Finance Corp (CEFC) has committed $8.5 million to build the park, which it says will create 400 jobs and create large-scale energy generation from solar and wind farms, battery storage and possibly green hydrogen.

“The Gippsland Renewable Energy Park will set the benchmark for future clean energy infrastructure projects,” said Assistant Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Tim Wilson.

Australian superannuation fund Hostplus will invest an initial $15 million in the joint venture as it shifts its investment portfolio to net-zero emissions by 2050.

International clean energy fund Octopus Group is also raising private investment for Gippsland renewable power projects. The global fund has invested more than $6 billion across more than 300 projects around the world, and the CEFC and Octopus Group recently bought into the 44MW Perry Bridge Solar Farm and 80MW Fulham Solar Farm in Gippsland.

“It is a great opportunity to combine the resources and capital of each group into a collaboration that can build Gippsland Renewable Energy Park in a way that benefits not only Australia’s clean energy future, but also the local Gippsland community,” said Octopus Australia managing director Sam Reynolds.

Gippsland MP Darren Chester emphasised the importance of transiting workers from jobs in coal to employment in renewables.

“This is an important step in keeping the energy sector in our region where the knowledge and experience is, and ensuring Latrobe Valley and Gippsland are not forgotten,” he said.