Page 5990 - Week 14 - Thursday, 8 December 2011

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Turning to the issue of reduction of minimum capacity threshold, the minimum capacity of generators that may be granted a FIT entitlement under the legislation is to be lowered to 200 kilowatts from two megawatts. However, the minister may, with each release of capacity, set a higher threshold appropriate for each specific release. To avoid any uncertainty as to the effect of this change of the first solar auction, there is no change. A two megawatt minimum capacity is intended for the first solar auction as defined at the point of connection to the ACT distribution network.

Clause 6(1)(a) has been amended, with two megawatts being replaced with 200 kilowatts. A new subclause has been inserted into clause 10 that gives the minister the power, when releasing feed-in tariff capacity under the bill, to state the minimum capacity of a large renewable energy generator for the purpose of that feed-in tariff capacity release. This will mean that the minimum capacity can be changed from more than 200 kilowatts.

I would also like to turn to the issue of commitment to further review. Further to these amendments, and at the request of my colleagues, in particular Mr Rattenbury, I can confirm that I will be instructing my directorate to commission an independent assessment of the impacts on our grid of the reduction in generating thresholds, with this report to be available by the end of April 2012. This will inform the government in relation to any future releases beyond the first initial 40 megawatt release which will be conducted with a minimum threshold of two megawatts.

These amendments have been developed on a consultative basis and will strengthen this important bill and provide additional flexibility to pursue a range of renewable energy technologies and locations into the future, while allowing each release to be effectively targeted. The bill represents a significant policy project that has been undertaken by my directorate. It is nation leading policy and I would like to thank a number of officers for their professionalism in developing this landmark piece of legislation—Mr James O’Brien, Ms Suzanne Falvi, Mr Richard Bourne, Mr Greg Buckman, Mr Jon Sibley and Mr Alan Traves. They have all shown significant professionalism and dedication to this complex but important task on behalf of the government and I thank them very much for their efforts. I commend these amendments to the Assembly.


MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mrs Dunne): Before we proceed, I recognise in the gallery Dr Gary Lin of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office and his staff and colleagues at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office. I welcome you to the ACT Legislative Assembly.

Electricity Feed-in (Large-Scale Renewable Energy Generation) Bill 2011

Detail stage

Remainder of bill.

Debate resumed.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (4.22): I want to speak briefly to some of these amendments because they highlight the point that I was making in the in-principle stage in terms of where some of this activity might take place.

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