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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 5 Hansard (14 May) . . Page.. 1474..


MR COE: Minister, did you receive any complaints from private operators about bus No 100 working as a tourist service?

MR RATTENBURY: I will check my records.

Energy—wind

MR GENTLEMAN: My question is to the Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development. Minister, last month you announced an auction process to support the development of new wind farm projects. Could you please tell the Assembly about the wind auction and of any developments in federal policy settings that could impact on this policy?

MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Gentleman for his question. Yes, in April this year I was very pleased to announce the opening of a new auction process to support the deployment of up to 200 megawatts of renewable energy generation from wind farms to meet the energy needs of our city into the future. This 200-megawatt auction will deliver sufficient renewable energy supply to meet the needs of 65,000 Canberra households, that is, one in every in every two Canberra households to be powered by renewable energy generation by the year 2020.

The auction process has been facilitated as a result of the passage of changes to the large-scale feed-in tariff law considered by the Assembly last year. As a result, we have seen strong interest from the private sector in competing and in bidding in this auction process. The ACT's policy framework has really demonstrated how a city can make the shift to a renewable energy future, that it can do so in a timely and efficient way, in a market-based mechanism way and at a low cost to consumers. I am very pleased with the level of interest to date shown by the private sector.

But it is the case that what we see at a federal level is policy settings that are creating uncertainty in the renewable energy industry. We are seeing policy decisions such as the decision to abolish the Australian Renewable Energy Agency in last night's budget, ripping away $1½ billion over the next five years of potential investment by the federal government in renewable energy projects. And that signal alone from the federal government means that some companies may think, "Why are we here in the Australian market? Maybe we will go and spend our dollars elsewhere. Maybe we will go and employ people in markets that we consider more favourable and more supportive of renewable energy projects."And that is a tragedy.

Policies like the ACT's are helping to instil confidence in the ACT as a place to develop renewable energy projects. They are helping in instilling confidence in our region as a place to develop renewable energy projects. But with the types of policy settings we are seeing from the federal government, such as the abolition of ARENA and the review and all the uncertainty associated with the review of the renewable energy target, we know that that is causing serious concern amongst market participants. And we need governments that are prepared to support renewable energy generation in the future.


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