Page 309 - Week 01 - Thursday, 27 February 2014

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The Solar Auction effectively achieved all of its outcomes, resulting in a competitive process that provided the ACT Government with a number of high quality proposals to select from that offered relatively low FiT rates (thus providing value for money).

That is a strong endorsement of the policy architecture this government has put in place. That is also reflected in the prices that have been bid for large-scale renewables to date: the Royalla solar project, the lowest price per kilowatt hour ever put forward by the private sector in Australia for large scale renewables; the Zhenfa project at Mugga Lane, a full cent below the Royalla project; and the Uriarra project, the same price as Royalla. (Time expired.)

MADAM SPEAKER: Ms Berry, a supplementary question.

MS BERRY: Minister, how will the ACT economy benefit from this renewable energy policy?

MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Berry for her supplementary. Obviously the lower the price that we achieve for large-scale renewable the more efficient it is for our economy as a whole and the less of a cost impost is passed through to electricity customers as we make this transition to a renewable energy future.

We also, of course, by investing in renewables, know that, once we have addressed the issue of up-front cost, the fuel of renewable energy generation, the sunlight and the wind, is free. When we think about the long-term investment that we should be making as a city, we need to be asking whether we should be continuing to find ourselves hooked into an energy generation system and network where the prices of fuel are going to continue to increase, as we have seen with gas just in the last few weeks in terms of the decisions coming out of New South Wales, or whether we should make the shift to fuel sources that in the future will be free of charge and that the generation capability will have been paid for.

That is why the switch to renewables is so important. But it is equally important in terms of encouraging activity in our local economy. As I was saying earlier, there are Canberra-based researchers in our academic institutions and in the private sector developing innovations in the renewable energy space. They welcome the opportunity to partner with companies on the ground that are helping to deliver large-scale renewable in our city and our region. We see that happening right now. We see that happening with companies that have been successful in the solar auction and who are partnering and putting money on the table in our academic institutions to support renewable energy research.

This is a good thing for our city. It is generating the capacity of our city. It is the type of policy we will need into the future as we make the shift to a renewable energy city.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Minister, through AP2, how many homes took up the option of the home energy improvement scheme?

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