Page 2575 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 2 July 2008

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the grid’s capacity I would hope that we or ActewAGL would therefore reduce the amount of coal-fired energy being brought into the ACT. Indeed, I would have thought that was one of the objects.

Finally, I am proposing new clause 6 (4) and (5) to extend and strengthen the provision. The first part of this amendment, subclauses (4) (a) and (4) (b), are simply to ensure that renewable energy producers are paid their premium on a regular basis in the billing cycle that they have already chosen to use. This is merely a mechanism to ensure that ActewAGL does not decide to pay producers once annually or similar or whatever suits its agenda rather than that of the individual household supplier.

Proposed new clause 6 (5) relates to the GreenPower program. I have been contacted by a number of constituents and community groups over the past few months who are concerned how this bill will interact with the existing GreenPower scheme. I think we need to step back and understand why the GreenPower scheme was first established. It was originally designed—indeed, it still is—to be a voluntary scheme whereby additional renewable energy is generated over and above that generated by government legislated schemes such as renewable energy targets.

Instead, we have seen the government rely on these additional schemes, such as carbon offsets and purchasing green power, when what we should be seeing is government setting strong renewable energy targets—unfortunately that has just been rejected—which are aimed at reducing the city’s energy use, especially from coal-fired and other non-renewable sources, investing in renewable energy power plants such as the government is talking about in this budget and even using the greenhouse gas abatement scheme and its renewable energy certificates.

GreenPower was never designed for government bodies to invest in instead of undertaking these measures. The main point, though, is that we would not like to see renewable energy produced through this scheme and then sold on to others as GreenPower. These should be separate schemes. We do not want to see the community paying for this energy twice, once through the increased cost of our electricity by the absorption of the scheme’s costs into our electricity bill and again through people, like, I am sure, many of us, paying a premium for GreenPower. This has the potential to be a big problem. It is very disappointing to me that the government will not be supporting this amendment, as we have been told is the case. They do have time to change their minds, however.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (11.50): The government will not be supporting this series of amendments. Firstly, it deems the amendments unnecessary. We will be actually replacing all six. The operation of electricity distribution connection is governed by a comprehensive set of rules known as the national electricity rules. The ACT cannot have unilateral rules as chapter 5 of the rules under the national electricity law specifically outlines provisions for connections to a transmission network or a distribution network.

In regard to Dr Foskey’s amendment No 5, the distributor’s connection responsibilities are covered under the national electricity rules. The government will not be supporting that amendment. In respect of amendment No 6, it will be the retailers who will be required to pay renewable energy electricity producers. As the

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