Australia’s Victoria state is set to enshrine ambitious renewable energy targets into law.

The state’s government has introduced a bill into parliament to increase the renewable energy target to 50 per cent by 2030.

The new bill builds on earlier legislation that set the Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET), committing the state to source 25 per cent of its electricity generation from renewable sources by 2020, and 40 per cent by 2025.

That legislation made Victoria the first state in Australia to write a renewables target into law.

“These targets help industry to invest with certainty, creating local jobs – particularly in regional Victoria,” said state energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio. “Victoria is the renewable energy capital of Australia and strengthening the VRET in law will keep it that way – boosting jobs, reducing emissions and driving down energy prices.”

VRET is part of a package of policy reforms designed to deliver investment in clean energy in Victoria. The package includes a renewable energy action plan, a solar homes programme and the 2017 Climate Change Act.

Green groups have urged the Victorian government to set more ambitious targets as analysis from the Australian Energy Markets Operator (AEMO) indicates that the state is already on track to meet the 2030 target in a ‘business as usual’ scenario.

“With recent speculation that Victorian coal power stations could close much earlier than expected, we need to build more renewable energy and storage ahead of time to ensure the energy transition is as smooth as possible,” said Environment Victoria Campaigns Manager Dr Nicholas Aberle.

However there are concerns about the impact growing renewable energy capacity will have on the grid, and how the expected closure of coal fired power plants in the state will affect energy supplies.