Page 2060 - Week 07 - Thursday, 4 June 2015

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It removes the reliance on the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000—the commonwealth act—for the registration of large generation certificates and places this within the control of the ACT Legislative Assembly. We have one amendment to move today, which I will speak briefly about during the detail stage. We will then support the amended bill.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (11.58): The Greens are ardent supporters of solar energy and of the mechanisms that drive the uptake of solar energy. We believe that solar has a valuable role to play in transitioning to a society that is run on clean, renewable energy but also in moving towards decentralised energy systems and energy independence for householders. We understand that there are a range of mechanisms and ways to do this and that the policy in this area has been in its infancy over the past decade, but ultimately the important thing is to be doing something.

As such, it reminds me a little of the precautionary principle applied to environmental law: the absence of scientific consensus should not be a reason used to take no action. In this case, the lack of perfect policy solutions should not be used as an excuse not to undertake the actions that we need to drive change and to drive the uptake of renewable energy.

As such, the Greens were ardent supporters of the micro and medium-scale feed-in tariffs that were introduced in 2009. While we did not always agree with the government at the time about the scale of the price that should be paid, we did and do strongly support the notion that we use legislation to drive incentives for people to invest their capital, if they have the capital to invest, in solar infrastructure and that we do this by making solar worthy of that investment.

The 2009 feed-in tariff scheme for micro and medium-scale generators quickly drove the uptake of home solar systems in the territory. While we may not have got all the policy levers exactly right at the time, there is no doubt that the scheme was a success. Not only did it result in over 30 megawatts of solar being installed on Canberra roofs; it drove an understanding of climate change and renewable energy in this town that would be hard to replicate in any public education campaign.

Unfortunately, in many ways the scheme was misunderstood, as opponents sought to set household against household while failing to remind the community that those who invested in solar were contributing to important public policies: the reduction of greenhouse emissions and increasing distributed energy in the ACT—and that the scheme was successful in leveraging their private capital into this public good.

We also supported the introduction of large-scale solar, through the auction mechanism, which is expected to deliver another 40 megawatts of solar into the grid. The 20-megawatt Royalla solar farm started generating in September last year. Planning is well underway for the Mugga Lane solar project, which will bring on another 13 megawatts, with the relocated OneSun project delivering the final seven megawatts of that large-scale auction release.

This year’s allocation of 200 megawatts of wind power, to be constructed under the large-scale feed-in tariff, will deliver power to something like 100,000 Canberra

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