Page 3912 - Week 09 - Thursday, 25 August 2011

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solar generation output occurring in the territory as a result of the installation of nearly 30 megawatts of capacity under the feed-in tariff scheme for micro and medium scale generation. This generates enough power annually for around 10,000 ACT households having the average power usage. But the ACT government is now looking towards our future needs for renewable generation at large scale and has released a discussion paper to indicate to the solar renewable industry how the ACT proposes to offer support into the future.

As members would be aware, I announced at the end of last year that the ACT government would encourage the construction of large solar energy facilities in the ACT through a feed-in tariff for facilities larger than 200 kilowatts with an overall scheme cap of 40 megawatts. I said then that an auction would be conducted to bring forward competitive bids for the FIT required to support large-scale solar energy facilities.

That structure and process currently is being developed by the Environment and Sustainability Directorate and proposes that bidders be responsible for financing, constructing, owning and operating their proposed facilities. The ACT government will be responsible for legislative arrangements to provide a supported price payment for the electricity sent out from such facilities.

This process will be a world leading mechanism and, in developing the auction, the ACT has drawn on lessons from other jurisdictions already well down the path of large scale adoption of solar renewable energy. The results of this work will be that later in these sittings I intend to bring to the Assembly the enacting legislation for the conduct of an auction for large-scale renewable energy.

It is worth noting that, although the bidders for the initial 40 megawatt tranche will be from solar PV proponents, the legislation is being drafted to be technology agnostic. This is so the ACT can take advantage of the potential advantages from innovations in renewable generation technologies into the future. This will be an important initiative for the ACT and will build on Labor’s commitment to make Canberra the solar capital of Australia.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary, Mr Hargreaves?

MR HARGREAVES: Thanks very much, Mr Speaker. The minister referred to the discussion paper on the large-scale solar auction process. What has been the feedback to the minister on that paper?

MR CORBELL: The response to the discussion paper on a large-scale solar auction has been overwhelmingly positive, with feedback from a range of potential bidders. The industry is clearly ready to take on this opportunity and it is looking at this policy from the ACT government as a way to establish a base for the longer term sustainability of the solar industry in the ACT.

There have been some potential bidders wishing to build upon the work they undertook for the commonwealth solar flagships program. A number of these are well advanced with possible solutions for constructing and operating a solar power generating facility in the ACT and have expressed a willingness to participate as soon

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