Page 2297 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 5 August 2015

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Apart from reducing the territory’s carbon footprint, jobs are being created as well. We are seeing major international energy companies investing in Canberra: Neoen France is establishing their wind energy headquarters to service their investments across the Asia-Pacific region, and RES UK is partnering with local company Windlab to provide asset management services. Windlab will also establish a global renewable energy operation hub in Canberra that will service two of the successful proposals, Ararat and Coonooer Bridge. These new operations, including the new operation headquarters to be established in Canberra, will create high skilled and high paid jobs, reflecting Canberra’s position as a knowledge economy and providing significant multiplier effects in terms of economic benefit.

The Canberra skills training sector will also grow with the establishment of a national renewable energy skills centre of excellence at CIT. Through the centre, CIT will greatly expand their training services to the national and international student market. The Australian National University will establish Australia’s first wind energy masters course, which will attract new national and international students to live and study in Canberra.

Solar energy is another renewable technology, and this government is investing in this to complement the work being done to tap wind-generated energy. The government recently received a remarkable response to the ACT’s next generation solar expression of interest process, indicating a significant industry demand for new opportunities in this area as well. Three large-scale solar farms, the Royalla Solar Farm, Mugga Lane Solar Park, and the OneSun solar farm, will be constructed and set to generate around 77,000 megawatt hours of electricity per year, which is enough to power 10,000 households.

Examples such as these show that this is a government that is willing to embrace the future, and by taking this action has positioned the ACT as leaders in the renewable energy sector. These actions have been recognised both nationally and globally, with the reverse solar auction process winning the most prestigious environmental award in the country, the Banksia Foundation gold award. As you know, Mr Assistant Speaker, we are a small jurisdiction. However, we are proud that we are leading not just in the conversation but, more importantly, in taking action.

This is an important time for renewable energy not only in the ACT but globally. We are seeing solar and wind resources growing rapidly across the world, but it will take leadership to realise the full benefits. Real leaders with vision are looking at the vast array of scientific data available to all of us and are using the information to take the necessary actions that will benefit both individuals and the world as a whole. It is only by doing this that the future of our children and their children can be secured. One day they will thank us for the responsible decisions we make now.

Only this week we saw the President of the United States of America unveil the clean power plan, a comprehensive plan that the USA will embark on in coming years. In this speech, President Obama outlined the first-ever carbon pollution standards for existing power plants, which he says will put the USA on a path towards 32 per cent reduction in carbon pollution by 2030 and will achieve this by increasing renewable energy generation by 30 per cent by 2030. This is leadership, and guess what? The coal industry is lining up to resist Obama’s reforms.

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