Page 65 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 27 November 2012

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Questions without notice

Energy—electricity prices

MR SESELJA: My question is to the Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development. The Greens-Labor agreement establishes a target of 90 per cent of Canberra’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020. What modelling on the impact of this policy on electricity bills has been done by the government in the ACT? Will you release this modelling and, if so, will you do so by the end of this sitting week?

MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Seselja for the question. Detailed analysis has been undertaken as part of the development of this target, which is set out in action plan 2, the government’s climate change strategy. It recognises that the cost of renewable energy will continue to decline and the cost of non-renewable energy will continue to increase. For that reason, a prudent investment in renewable energy is part of actually protecting Canberrans against the rising costs of energy if we continue to rely solely on non-renewable sources.

The detailed modelling is set out, first of all, in the options that were set out as part of the consultation on action plan 2. In the first instance, I would refer Mr Seselja to those assessments. Secondly, in relation to the final costing for a 90 per cent target, those were matters that were considered in detail by the government.

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Seselja, a supplementary question.

MR SESELJA: Minister, when will you be completing that modelling and will you be tabling it in the Assembly?

MR CORBELL: That modelling is complete.


MR SMYTH: Yes, Madam Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Minister, what impact will this policy have on many lower and middle income Canberrans already struggling to pay their electricity bills, and will you table the modelling in the Assembly by close of business this week?

MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Smyth for the question. As I indicated in my previous answer, what we know is that the cost of non-renewable energy is going to continue to increase. That is going to increase because the cost of carbon intensive fuels is going to continue to increase and at the same time the cost of network augmentation is going to continue to increase.

These are the factors that are putting the most significant pressure on power bills. For that reason, a shift to renewables, whilst it has an up-front cost, has a long-term benefit in terms of power prices because, in simple terms, the fuel is free. The wind and the sun is a free fuel source. That is the type of investment we need to make for the long-term energy security and price reliability for Canberra consumers.

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