Page 1774 - Week 06 - Thursday, 14 May 2015

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Electricity Feed-in Tariff Schemes Legislation Amendment Bill 2015

Mr Corbell, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Capital Metro) (10.40): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The government is presenting legislation that will amend and improve upon the remarkable success of the ACT’s feed-in tariff schemes. These schemes are playing a central role in the ACT’s transition to 90 per cent renewable energy by 2020 and in delivering this government’s ambitious renewable energy agenda that has put the ACT at the forefront of renewable energy policy development in Australia.

Over 10,000 Canberra households have installed rooftop solar systems since the passage of the Electricity Feed-in (Renewable Energy Premium) Act in 2008. This helped increase ACT rooftop solar generating capacity from less than a megawatt in 2008 to around 43 megawatts today. This remarkable increase stimulated industry growth, generated jobs in the ACT and promoted innovation and competition that contributed to the falling prices of installing these systems.

It is therefore very heartening to note that with these lower prices Canberrans continue to install rooftop solar even without the support of a mandated feed-in tariff. With approximately 16,000 rooftop solar systems now installed, including those not supported by the feed-in tariff, more than one in 10 Canberra houses now has a solar panel on its roof. This is a significant achievement for our community.

The next stage of the government’s renewable energy agenda was large-scale renewable energy. The Electricity Feed-in (Large-scale Renewable Energy Generation) Act was passed in 2011, pioneering the use of an innovative reverse auction mechanism that has resulted in highly competitive bids well below industry expectations.

In 2012-13 I announced the results of the first solar auction undertaken under this legislation. The three winning solar farms, with a combined generation capacity of 40 megawatts, will deliver enough clean electricity to power 10,000 Canberra homes. The three successful wind energy projects announced in the auction conducted in 2014-15 go further still. They will provide clean electricity to power over 100,000 Canberra homes. This is a third of the ACT’s total electricity demand, reducing carbon emissions by 12 million tonnes over the next 20 years.

In relative terms, this is the biggest step change reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of any Australian jurisdiction ever and it has been achieved at the lowest possible cost. The total cost of the 90 per cent renewable energy target is estimated to peak at $4.67 per week per household in 2020 and falling thereafter.

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