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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (11 April) . . Page.. 1050 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

Related to the whole topic is the potential for establishing a renewable energy industry in the ACT. World-class research on solar energy is already being conducted at the ANU, so there may be scope for encouraging greater commercialisation of this research in the ACT as a way of meeting the demand for new renewable energy facilities. The committee should also look at this issue in a regional context, as the ACT is an integral part of the New South Wales electricity network. Just looking at what could be built within the borders of the ACT may limit the potential for accessing more suitable sites. For example, there may not be many sites in the ACT suitable for wind energy, but there are good sites to the north and there is already a major wind energy plant at Crookwell.

I wish the committee good luck and look forward to seeing the report of this inquiry. I support Ms Dundas' amendments, which, I understand, were a bit of a compromise and picked up some, but certainly not all, of Mr Quinlan's points.

MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming and Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Corrections) (5.18): I presume I am speaking to the amendments at the moment, one of which has a typo in it, by the way. Mrs Dunne told me that it was smart. One of the amendments refers to facilities "with" the ACT region, but I think Ms Dundas means "within". Is Ms Dundas around to amend her amendment? I will do so. I move the following amendment to Ms Dundas' proposed amendment No 1:

Omit "with" and substitute "within".

Out of respect for members, I circulated an amendment early in the piece with a view to seeking to make the work of this committee effective and implementable, rather than a noble sentiment that may never be implemented. I recall that Ms Dundas was very passionate about renewable energy in her introduction. One of the problems that we are going to have with the sentiment of this study, if it does come out and find ways of producing sustainable energy within the ACT, is the fact that we are part of a national grid and we have an electricity supplier that we do not own.

The economic rationalist side of the Liberal Party, the one that is not passionate about sustainable energy, wanted to sell the whole of Actew a few years ago and eventually sold half of it and virtually all effective control. If we did come up with good ideas that would change the world, if there were ideas for wind power at the top of Black Mountain or a thermal mass below us, I think we could use it in the ACT if it was very small in nature. I think that a certain amount of local generation could be used in a local jurisdiction-I am not sure of the rules-and not have to be fed into the national grid, but there are protocols in place that mean that the ACT is tied to the national grid.

Under the competition policy, inevitably the ACT will move to full retail contestability. It is my opinion at this stage that inevitably it will do so, but that has not been absolutely finalised. It will therefore be the choice of the customer to buy from wherever. If we are looking towards renewable energy consumed in the ACT, there will have to be a fairly subtle process, let me say, in order to get renewable energy consumed in the ACT. As I said, I am not sure about the limits. I have to say that I think the terms of reference were originally written to come up with a set of answers of which the Greens would have been proud.

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