Page 2633 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 2 July 2008
In relation to both my amendments relating to hydro power, it is really important when we are talking about renewable energy to differentiate between small and large hydro power plants. Establishing large hydro power schemes cannot be included as renewable, as large rivers need to be dammed for their establishment. As rivers are not unlimited, they cannot be included. Small hydro power, however, as we have seen down on the Molonglo, has a lot of potential and, indeed, may be something that we will be considering in the future as we are looking for a broader range of renewable energy sources.
MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (5.17): The bill presently allows for wind and solar, with any other form of renewable energy electricity generation prescribed by regulation. The bill also has a great deal of flexibility to allow for other renewables to be included and for the minister to adjust the rates accordingly for all the determinations as prescribed within the bill.
The renewable energy technology industry is growing at an exceptional rate. There are new technologies being announced on a regular basis that are likely to be available on a commercial basis within the next five to 10 years. Allowing the flexibility for the minister to determine what renewable energy electricity generation device will and will not be included will ensure that any such proposal will be subject to an examination of the potential positive or negative impacts it may have on the surrounding environment. The government sees no need, then, to amend this part of the bill and, as such, we will not be supporting this amendment.
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (5.19): I will not be supporting this amendment, nor will I be supporting Dr Foskey’s other amendment in relation to extending the definition of what a renewable energy source is. This is an issue that Mr Gentleman grappled with, and I grappled with it as well, in framing the Climate Change (Greenhouse Gas Emissions Targets) Bill. I contemplated putting in a long list regarding what renewable energy is. But, as Mr Gentleman has rightly said, if we do that, we end up hog-tying ourselves and having to come back and amend the legislation unnecessarily.
Therefore, the provisions as they currently stand in Mr Gentleman’s bill, and in the bill that I introduced today, which leave most of the decision-making power in regulations, are probably the best way to go about it. I understand the enthusiasm for putting in a long list and telling everybody how much we know about renewable energy, but I do not think it serves to make good legislation.
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (5.20): I move amendment No 16 circulated in my name [see schedule 2 at page 2659].
It is pretty obvious that it is not going to be supported. I do take on board what people say, and I understand that they are probably right about the ministerial power. I do not think it hurts to point out that there is a broad range. I was not aware that I was showing how much my office and I knew, but I guess that is just a political response. I will speak about the concession amendment because my adviser has given me a note. You were right, Mrs Dunne, but when we first drafted these amendments the ICRC