Page 1731 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 8 May 2013

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MR CORBELL: As I indicated in my earlier answer, it is the case that the successful bidder at the first auction, FRV, are moving ahead with their necessary approvals so that they can commence construction of a 20-megawatt facility in the Royalla precinct later this year, contingent, of course, on the receipt of all the necessary approvals.

The company was awarded the tender for the first stage of the solar auction, delivering large-scale solar at a very competitive price—at 18c, the cheapest price yet bid for large-scale PV generation per kilowatt hour. That is a very exciting development and we look forward to further development on this front as FRV moves through the development assessment and approvals process.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Minister, how does the solar option contribute to the government’s overall sustainable energy policy?

MR CORBELL: The second stage of the option will award that further 20 megawatts, as I have already indicated, in addition to the 20 megawatts that were awarded in 2012. It will result in the production of a further 37,000 megawatt hours of renewable energy each year. That is enough to power approximately 4½ thousand Canberra homes. That is what will be achieved by the Royalla facility. Of course, a further 20 megawatts is expected to deliver around the same number again, providing the equivalent of up to 10,000 Canberra homes being powered by renewable energy.

Of course, this is all part of the government’s long-term strategy to deliver 90 per cent of our electricity supplies through renewables by the year 2020 and achieving our long-term carbon neutrality goals. Other cities are taking similar courses of action. I am proud that the ACT, under the leadership of this Labor government, is making this change and is carving out its space as a leader and an early adopter in the delivery of large-scale renewables for our city.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Berry.

MS BERRY: Does the minister intend to continue to pursue innovative sustainable energy policies such as these?

MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Berry. Yes, I do. The government has a strong program ahead of it as we continue to focus on reducing the carbon intensity of our energy use and at the same time help Canberrans to save money and help Canberrans to reduce their electricity and other energy use, so that they use electricity more efficiently. For example, the government has already indicated its intention to give further consideration to the rollout of the energy efficiency improvement scheme into the small business sector, recognising that there are many businesses in the small business sector that would benefit significantly from being assisted by their electricity retailers to reduce their electricity bills, to reduce their energy costs, to reduce their operating costs.

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