Page 2036 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 28 June 2023

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on the cost impact, where Evoenergy has predicted an annual cost impact of around $7 needed to upgrade the grid in the ACT, and the ACT government modelling shows a band from savings of around $10 a year to an increase in around $10 a year. These are not wildly different numbers. They are different, but they are not wildly different.

What it also reflects is that there is a range of factors here. Population growth is probably the biggest impact on what is happening to our electricity grid, how much we need to upgrade it and the different infrastructure to be put in place. But, obviously, the uptake of electric vehicles and the intent to electrify the city will also have impacts.

What I can assure the community is that the ACT government is working very closely with Evoenergy. They are a key partner in this transition.

MS CASTLEY: Minister, can you guarantee that there will be no brownouts in Canberra in coming years as a consequence of our rapid transition to EVs?

MR RATTENBURY: I will take that question in two parts, so that I am absolutely accurate for the Assembly. The government cannot guarantee that there will be no brownouts, because they have happened in recent years. We have seen it where coal-fired power stations in New South Wales have shut down because of extreme heat, and that has an impact on the electricity grid and it impacts the ACT.

Mr Parton: So we needed the coal?

MR RATTENBURY: Mr Parton interjects saying that we need coal. I know that that is his view of the world, that we need coal. But the reality is that it is the coal-fired power stations that are shutting down—

Mr Parton: Is your view that we do not need coal anymore?

MADAM SPEAKER: Members, the question has been asked.

Mr Parton: Is it your view that we no longer need coal?

MADAM SPEAKER: This is not a discussion.

MR RATTENBURY: To go to Ms Castley’s question, which is what I was trying to answer, the point is that we have seen various issues with the electricity grid in recent years—so these will happen. In terms of her question on whether that will be driven by electric vehicles and/or the transition from gas to electricity, I do not believe it will. Those factors are being taken into account.

We are also seeing a number of changes in the electricity grid. With the installation of solar panels and the installation of batteries, we are seeing a decentralisation of our energy supplies. So the old style thing where you have loss of a transmission or the shutdown of a coal-fired power station impacting large suburbs will be ameliorated by the new technology that is coming through, particularly if we can also get electric vehicles plugged in through vehicle-to-grid technology. That will actually provide more reliability, and the areas that do suffer blackouts or brownouts will actually be smaller as a result of the decentralisation of the electricity grid.

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