Page 3610 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 22 October 2013

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MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Gentleman, sorry; I did not actually hear the question. “Can you tell—”

MR GENTLEMAN: Minister, can you tell the Assembly what this means for the project.

MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Gentleman for the question. I was delighted last Wednesday to join with representatives of FRV, Fotowatio Renewable Ventures, who are the developers of the Royalla solar farm, along with their principal contractors, Acciona Australia, to mark the commencement of work for the Royalla solar farm. This solar farm, of course, has been supported by the ACT government’s large-scale auction process. When completed, this solar power facility will be the largest of its type in Australia.

The turning of the sod, of course, marks the official commencement of construction work on the site. Acciona and FRV have commenced the site works with the development of new site access off the Monaro Highway. That will be followed by the substantive work on the site itself. The project is being developed by FRV, who were the successful winners of the first stage of the ACT’s solar auction process. At full capacity, this facility alone is expected to deliver approximately 20 megawatts of renewable energy annually, enough to meet the power demands of about 5,000 Canberra households. It is also expected that over the life of its operation the FRV facility will abate approximately 700,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

This development is important for the ACT—important in terms of working towards meeting our greenhouse gas reduction targets, reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, making the shift to renewable energy generation, and doing so at a very low cost to consumers. But equally it is important nationally, because it is one of the largest solar power plants—indeed it is the largest—yet to be built in Australia and it is the first solar power facility that has been supported by private finance. Therefore, we are setting a model for certainty and reliability when it comes to investment in solar energy across the country. And it is being closely watched by the industry nationally, and indeed internationally, because of the nature of the development and what it means for the potential of large-scale solar in our country.

I congratulate FRV on reaching this important milestone, seeing this work commence. The work is due to be completed by the middle of next year. That is when the plant is expected to be operational. We can truly say then that we are well on the path towards Canberra becoming the solar capital of Australia.

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Gentleman, a supplementary question.

MR GENTLEMAN: Minister, why is the ACT government so keen on attracting large-scale solar development?

MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Gentleman for the supplementary. We are, of course, keen on and supportive of large-scale solar because of the contribution it can make towards meeting, first and foremost, our city’s renewable energy targets. We have a

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