THE Grampians New Energy Taskforce wants more of the renewable energy generated in Western Victoria to remain in the region, in the hope more of the economic benefits will also stay.
It comes after Melbourne University economics professor Ross Garnaut discussed the Wimmera's role in a post-carbon economy at a series of events in Horsham on Tuesday and Wednesday.
GNET member Emma Vogel said most of Western Victoria's solar and wind-generated electricity was exported.
"GNET has been working across government and private sectors to overcome some of the issues experienced by existing energy projects, relating into construction in particular," she said.
"We have put together a construction co-ordination committee that has been working with industry to fast-track some of their projects.
"Something we have learned through the process is that we are not getting the greatest return on those existing projects, so some of our work will be harnessing greater economic value from existing and future projects through jobs and training and communtiy benefit programs.
"At the moment a lot of skills are brought in, sometimes internationally, so we've been working with Federation University to forward their proposed Asia-Pacific Renewable Energy Training Centre so we can upskill our local workforce so those jobs can stay in the region."
Ms Vogel said the organisation would release Grampians Roadmap to Zeroin coming months. The document will contain ideas on how the region can transition to make the most of businesses adopting lower emissions practices.
"There will be some factsheets on what people can do as individuals and what community and industry can do to move towards zero emissions," she said.
"We will be moving some of our more large-scale projects such as upgrading the Western Victorian power grid, looking at further microgrids for communities and some implementation trials at carbon reduction on farms."
Ms Vogel said GNET had recently advocated for the upgrade of the power transmission line from North Ballarat to Bulgana, to improve the region's capacity to attract further renewable energy projects.
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"We will now be working with the state government and Australian Energy Market Operator for a business case to upgrade the grid through to Horsham," she said.
On Tuesday, Professor Garnaut hosted a zero emissions workshop at Federation University' Horsham campus with Wimmera organisations, including councils, on how the region can maximise the economic opportunities from the transition.
He said opportunities to use renewable energy for economic growth within the Wimmera included making ammonia and other nitrogenous agricultural fertilisers locally, using hydrogen made from renewable energy.
"The low-cost combination of solar and wind will make this a very good region for doing that, and you have a high demand for nitrogenous fertilisers in the farming industries around here," he said.
"It has to be subject to a detailed local feasibility study, but it would save on transport costs if ammonia was made in the region. I expect that to be a productive industry here."
Professor Garnaut said other regions of Australia were already transitioning to low-carbon economies.
"The upper Spencer Gulf region of South Australia was once the main centre of coal-based power and people were very worried when the power station was closed down. Now there are more jobs in new energy industries than used to be in coal-based power generation.
"For example, using solar thermal power for desalination of water and heating greenhouses. There is a facility doing this in Port Augusta employing 300 people and producing all the tomatoes you grow in supermarkets.
Professor Garnaut produced a climate change review for the Australian government in 2008.
Webster discusses climate change bill
The forums in Horsham came as Independent MP Zali Steggall introduced a bill to federal parliament which would put in place a national framework to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change if adopted.
Member for Mallee Anne Webster did not say if she would vote for the bill, other than to say the government was "committed to meeting and beating the targets that have been set under the Paris Agreement between now and 2030".
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