Page 2798 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 12 August 2015

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mobilise significant numbers of volunteers and has established an important network for the monitoring and reporting of the health of the ACT’s waterways. It has been an essential element in the development of the options for improving water quality as part of the basin priority project.

The ACT is continuing to lead the way when it comes to supporting the development of renewable energy generation for clean, emissions-free electricity for our city. Recently the government undertook an expression of interest phase for next generation solar development. I am pleased to say that the response from industry was overwhelming, with 30 submissions put forward for consideration.

The next generation solar process will deliver an additional 50 megawatts in renewable electricity to the ACT. The combined total of the proposals put forward in the expression of interest round equates to approximately 976 megawatts. This highlights the innovation that the ACT is driving in this important industry. This stage forms an important part of our 90 per cent renewable energy target by the year 2020. The government has decided to target next generation solar, including energy storage and new renewable energy technologies, as part of its plan to reduce emissions and grow the renewable energy sector in the ACT—not only reducing our city’s greenhouse emissions, but helping to position our city as an internationally recognised centre for renewable energy innovation and investment.

In 2015-16 the government will continue to implement the carbon-neutral government framework. We have taken the approach of leading by example, finding new ways to reduce the impact that government operations have on the environment. Through the carbon-neutral fund, the government will continue to provide funding for capital works which will not only reduce emissions but improve the efficiency of our business. An example of the positive outcomes this program is delivering is the work across 90 government buildings, including schools, offices and libraries, to upgrade to light-emitting diode, LED, lighting technology. This work is expected to achieve a 20 to 30 per cent electricity use reduction at these sites and support growing the local clean economy. Projects like these move us closer to our goal of zero net emissions in government operations by the year 2020.

Just last week, with the support of the Assembly, the government extended the energy efficiency improvement scheme which was first introduced in January 2013. The Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement Act establishes a territory-wide energy savings target and establishes an energy savings obligation for individual electricity suppliers. The government has undertaken detailed modelling and assessment of the likely impacts of the EEIS to the year 2020, including a comprehensive analysis of the likely economic costs and benefits for Canberrans. This analysis concludes that the objectives of the policy, including substantial energy and greenhouse gas savings and enhanced social equity, can be achieved with a net economic benefit for the ACT.

As I mentioned at the beginning, this budget also continues the important work of the Actsmart programs. These programs have engaged thousands of Canberra households, and Actsmart has been very successful in helping them to achieve the government’s target of reducing energy consumption while reducing their utility bills. This is

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