Page 1776 - Week 06 - Thursday, 14 May 2015

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commonwealth law. At the same time these amendments also ensure that the payment of the feed-in tariff is not impacted by changes in the commonwealth law. This is intended to reduce sovereign risk and lower financing costs for present and future feed-in tariff entitlement holders under the act.

The bill also amends the large-scale feed-in tariff act to allow the government to determine alternative methods of calculating feed-in tariff support payments, where appropriate, for the benefit of the electricity consumers and generators. This is to take account of future technology, such as storage, where the application of technology could result in an enhanced income stream for the generator. Under these amendments the government could establish a means of sharing these benefits between the generator and ACT electricity consumers through lower feed-in tariff support payments.

Amendments to the small-scale feed-in tariff act will provide for greater scrutiny of the costs and impact of this scheme on electricity users. These amendments enhance compliance and reporting of information by electricity retailers and the distributor through targeted use of new penalties and audits, if required.

Under these amendments the government can require information from retailers and the distributor to inform the reporting of the scheme. A penalty may be issued if this information is not received. Further, the government can require an independent audit if it believes any information provided by the retailer or the distributor is misleading, untrue or incomplete. This is intended to be used only as a last resort, if significant concerns emerge in the future.

The existing monthly and quarterly reporting requirements will be replaced by a single annual reporting requirement. This is intended to streamline existing reporting requirements and help reduce the regulatory burden on electricity retailers and the distributor.

The current monthly requirements are considered redundant with the closure of the rooftop solar scheme. The commencement of the scheme saw substantial additional capacity being installed every month. With the closure of the scheme this is no longer the case. The bill also updates the legislation to reflect the fact that there has been closure of the scheme.

Additionally, these amendments address a concern in relation to existing applicants who are yet to install a rooftop system and connect under the scheme. To ensure these unconnected entitlements do not exist indefinitely into the future, the bill amends the legislation to require installation by 31 December 2016. This date ensures applications made before the scheme was closed will have sufficient time to complete installation and connection.

The government’s feed-in tariff schemes are delivering significant local investment benefits to the ACT economy while also enabling one of the largest greenhouse gas reductions for any jurisdiction in Australia at an affordable cost. They are setting up the ACT to become an innovation and investment hub for renewable energy in Australia. These amendments will ensure these schemes continue to function effectively and successfully into the future. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

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