Page 2061 - Week 07 - Thursday, 4 June 2015

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homes. While it might seem counterintuitive that wind farms in South Australia and Victoria are delivering benefits here in the ACT, there are numerous benefits, aside from the purchase of clean energy, that will be going towards our 90 per cent renewable energy target.

The ACT has positioned itself so that we are fast becoming a focus for the renewable energy industry in Australia. Aside from bringing jobs to the territory, these projects will deliver other benefits, such as the renewable energy skills centre of excellence being established for national and international students. The centre of excellence will be developed in partnership with the Hornsdale wind farm in South Australia, the proponents of which were awarded a feed-in tariff contract under the large-scale wind auction in February this year.

While the fulfilment of the renewable energy target, or perhaps more accurately the renewable electricity target, is progressing well, there remains work to do. We are likely to require further large-scale capacity releases, potentially through the large-scale auction process, but we must also consider the ongoing uptake of solar on the roofs of Canberra’s homes and businesses.

While domestic solar installation has continued at a modest rate, we can surely do better and do more so that we build on the 10 per cent of houses that have panels installed across the ACT. By driving further investment in home solar, we can both utilise Canberra’s roof space efficiently and also engage the community better in the delivery of our 90 per cent target.

If Canberra householders can produce and deliver green electricity into the grid at a cost that is equal to, or more likely less than, the cost we are paying large renewable energy companies to produce green electricity, then why would we not encourage them to do this? Utilising roof space is nearly always less contentious than building ground mounted systems, especially large systems. It is also sensible in a territory that is, in some ways, already short of space.

We need to think also about how we can facilitate this for small businesses and start to utilise some of the commercial roof spaces across Canberra. This might involve removing some of the obstacles that act as a disincentive to installing solar and possibly providing additional incentives. The reality is that we could do with opening up to Canberrans some of the capacity under the 90 per cent target. Let us see what the community is prepared to do to help us meet the target.

The Greens will be supporting this bill today. It is a bill that makes some technical amendments to both the large-scale feed-in act and the act that governs the medium and micro schemes that have now closed. In regard to the large-scale act, the first part of this bill makes amendments to cater for any potential changes to the federal law in regard to renewable energy.

The federal government seems to have won its case that the commonwealth 2020 renewable energy target be dropped from 41,000 gigawatt hours down to 33,000 gigawatt hours, in part by holding the renewable industry to ransom and stalling any development, and any new investment, in the industry since it was elected in September 2013.

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