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Yes 2 Renewables campaign #VRET, Victoria, Australia

Successful advocacy against coal, for a Renewable Energy Target by Yes 2 Renewables, securing jobs and investment in the renewable energy sector and supporting clean energy for current and future generations.


By 2017, Victoria’s energy mix is shifting irrevocably away from coal to new, renewable sources. The government said that interest in investment in new energy coal-fire plants had dwindled.[1]. Victoria is the only state in Australia which uses brown coal for energy generation, through deposits in the ­Latrobe Valley. The state uses the resource — which has a significantly higher emissions count than black coal — as its primary energy source, which it produces out of three stations at Loy Yang and Yallourn, and formerly at Hazelwood, which closed in March 2017.  [1]. This is a triumph for the Yes 2 Renewables campaign started in 2010 as part of Friends of the Earth, Melbourne. The state Liberal party didn’t have an environment policy when elected in 2010 and introduced the “world’s toughest regulations for wind farms” (Ewbank et al 2014, p.2). The federal Liberal government elected in 2013 quickly repealed Australia’s carbon price, announced a review of the federal renewable energy target and reduced the target by 20 percent in 2015 all causing a collapse in investment and jobs in the renewable energy sector.  It was clear that the revival of the renewable energy industry in Victoria depended upon policy certainty. Friends of the Earth campaigner, Leigh Ewbank, and the Yes 2 Renewables team, determined that a Victorian Renewable Energy Target #VRET was critical to achieving that certainty and the campaign was launched in February 2014 with a focus on the November 2014 election.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict: Yes 2 Renewables campaign #VRET, Victoria, Australia
State or province:Melbourne
Location of conflict:Melbourne
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Specific commodities:Renewable energy
Project Details and Actors
Project details

“The Victorian Renewable Energy Targets will double wind energy capacity in the state by 2020 and triple renewable energy capacity by 2025–creating 10,000 jobs and unlocking a $2.5 billion investment opportunity in the process” (Ewbank 2016b).

Level of Investment for the conflictive projectPotential for 2,500,000,000 billion (Ewbank 2016b)
Type of populationUnknown
Affected Population:5.8 million Victorians
Start of the conflict:01/01/2013
End of the conflict:15/06/2016
Relevant government actors:- Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
- Department of Premier and Cabinet
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:o Yes 2 Renewables,
o Friends of the Earth,
o Australian Wind Alliance,
o Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group,
o Surf Coast Energy Group,
o Australian Conservation Foundation,
o Voices of the Valley,
o Environment Victoria,
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Trade unions
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Other Environmental impacts
Other Environmental impactsPositive environmental impacrs because of use of renewable energy
Conflict outcome / response:New legislation
Proposal and development of alternatives:EJO proposals were to implement a Victorian Renewable Energy target, and Yes 2 Renewables proposed 30 percent by 2020 and 50 percent by 2025.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:Renewable energy targets have been established by the State government with strong support for job creation and emissions reduction. By August 2017, the Victorian Renewable Energy Targets of 25 percent by 2020 and 40% by 2025 will soon be enshrined in legislation and will see up to 5,400MW of solar and wind farms build in the state. The scheme is expected to create 10,000 jobs, attract $9 billion worth of investment, and cut power sector emissions by 12 percent.
Sources & Materials

[1] The Australian, New coal plant in Victoria ‘highly unlikely’, July 8, 2017, SAMANTHA HUTCHINSON
[click to view]

Arup, T., (2015), “Victoria aims for 20 per cent renewable energy target by 2020”, [online], The Age website,, [accessed 20/3/2017]
[click to view]

Ewbank, L., (2016b), “The long road to VRET: FoE’s campaign for a Vic Renewable Energy Target”, [online], Yes 2 Renewables website,, [accessed 20/3/2017]
[click to view]

The Hon. Daniel Andrews MP, (2016), “Renewable Energy Targets To Create Thousands Of Jobs”, [online], Premier of Victoria website,, [accessed 20/3/2017]
[click to view]

Ewbank, L., (2016a), “Making Victoria the place to be for renewable energy”, [online], Yes 2 Renewables website,, [accessed 20/3/2017]
[click to view]

Tomazin, F., (2015), “Unions, councils and green groups urge Andrews to aim high on renewables”, [online], The Age website,, [accessed 20/3/2017]
[click to view]

For a detailed description of the campaign, visit here
[click to view]

Ewbank, L., Courtice, B., and Walker, C., (2014), Ted Baillieu’s anti-wind farm laws: Costing Victoria jobs and climate action, Yes 2 Renewables, [online],, [accessed 20/3/2017]
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Brawl erupts as Dan (Andrews) reveals Victoria Renewable Energy Target laws. By Matt Johnston, Rob Harris and Karen Collier, Herald Sun, August 23, 2017
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Australian Environmental Justice Project, Lisa de Kleyn, PhD Candidate, RMIT University, [email protected]
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:2728
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