Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 11 April 2018) . . Page.. 1244 ..
ACT at the forefront, we must all recommit to our renewable electricity target and take every opportunity we can to achieve it.
Virtual power plants are a great example of how technological innovation can reduce carbon emissions. While we are at it, we should commit to explore further ways we can respond to the task before us. This includes in the areas of living infrastructure, the building code, climate-wise buildings and tree-lined pathways. With the ACT’s population expected to reach 500,000 by 2030, the heat island effect illustrates how we face increasing pressure on the delicate balance between our natural and built environments.
It is imperative that we continue to invest in and maintain our living infrastructure to help mitigate the impacts of climate change. If we do not take every opportunity to respond, we will suffer the impacts of a changed climate. We need to look after our environment so that our environment can look after us.
MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism and Major Events) (12.00): I thank Ms Orr for bringing forward this motion today and for very eloquently outlining the case for its support. I want to focus my brief remarks this afternoon on the work that the ACT is undertaking in trialling virtual power plants. Members may or may not be aware that a 400-residence VPP has already commenced in the territory. This is likely the largest virtual power plant currently operating in Australia.
The VPP is created by a network of home solar photovoltaic and battery systems all working together to generate, store and feed energy back into the grid. This is similar to South Australia’s big battery that was built with Tesla but, of course, is spread over hundreds, potentially thousands, of homes. Energy generated from the home solar system will provide electricity for the house on which it is installed, saving the resident money.
A Frontier Economics analysis has found that households participating in a virtual power plant could see a 30 per cent reduction in their energy bills. Of course, any excess energy generated by the system can then be dispatched to the grid. This can be centrally controlled to meet the needs of the grid. This means that a five-kilowatt system on 10,000 homes that is centrally controlled would effectively be the equivalent of a 50-megawatt power plant. This is a very exciting project. I am pleased that work is already underway here in the ACT. We look to scale that up in the future.
I want to signal today the territory government’s very strong support for Ms Orr’s proposal that we investigate ways of going significantly further than we already have and I commit the government to that course of action. I thank Ms Orr for moving this motion today and, as I say, for the very eloquent case she has put for its support by all Assembly members.
MS LEE (Kurrajong) (12.03): This is the third time in this term that those on the other side of the chamber have felt the need to reiterate the same issues on the 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2020 target and on climate change. Given that the minister for climate change has also decided he needs to use executive members’