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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 11 April 2018) . . Page.. 1248 ..


while we also meet our international renewable energy commitments. The Canberra Liberals are eager to see further detail on the agreement after the COAG meeting.

In the meantime, Minister Rattenbury’s threats to oppose the NEG will only harm ACT residents. As the minister points out at every turn, addressing climate change is a global issue and we all have a part to play. An energy policy which has been proposed by the federal government seeks to provide exactly what Minister Rattenbury was after—consensus at a national level. He is now seeking to sabotage this because the smallest player in the national energy market wants to continue to march toward renewables at lightning speed and at any cost.

Why should ACT ratepayers and energy bill payers be made to bear the brunt because the minister has decided he has an ideological objection? Who is he representing here? Himself? The Greens? As a minister in the ACT government, his first obligation should be to the people of the ACT. The Canberra Liberals do not believe the ACT’s best interests are being served by the ACT minister threatening to boycott a sensible way forward which will require retailers to guarantee reliability, cost and meeting our renewable energy obligations.

Ms Orr’s motion, and to the same extent Minister Rattenbury’s motion listed for tomorrow, does little to add anything new to the debate. It does little to provide assurances on affordability. It does little to provide assurances on reliability and it seems to be just more of the same rhetoric.

MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee) (12.14): I rise enthusiastically to speak in support of Ms Orr’s motion, which supports the expansion of our current virtual power plant trial into a larger scale project. The ACT is the renewable energy capital of Australia because our government has taken responsible steps to manage climate change and our environment by investing in renewable energy and innovation in our city.

Last year, in October, I moved a motion in the Assembly calling on the ACT government to investigate options with ACT energy providers to accommodate battery storage, including making distributed battery power available to the grid—a virtual power plant. A virtual power plant is a network of home solar photovoltaic and battery systems working together to turn energy generated from the sun into electricity, store that power and feed that dispatchable power into the grid when required. It not only provides a source of clean, renewable energy to the market but helps to stabilise the electricity grid. It also benefits battery owners who are paid a premium for their stored power at certain times.

Since I moved the batteries motion last year, which was passed in the Assembly, 400 Canberra households and businesses are now participating in the virtual power plant trial, the largest residential virtual power plant trial in the world. Participating households and businesses are already sharing in the benefits of helping to manage peak electricity demand and improving grid security.

The virtual power plant is also being supported through the ACT government’s next generation energy storage program, which provides $25 million in incentives to households and businesses to install battery systems. The rollout of batteries is one of


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