Page 3000 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 15 September 2015

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MR CORBELL: I thank Dr Bourke for his question. Yes, I can confirm that we are seeing significant progress in the development of the first of three large-scale wind farms for the ACT, delivering 200 megawatts of renewable energy generation for our city—enough to meet the electricity needs of over 80,000 Canberra households.

I am pleased to say that all three wind farms have now achieved what is known as financial close—that is, they have secured the finance necessary from their banks and other financiers to deliver these projects. The Ararat Wind Farm achieved financial close in June this year. Construction of the Coonooner Bridge Wind Farm, being developed by Canberra-based company Windlab, started in June this year. Construction of all three wind farms is now on track and is expected to be completed early to mid-2016.

This is very good news for the government’s 90 per cent renewable energy target. Of course, it will be bolstered with the Chief Minister’s announcement that we will move to a 100 per cent renewable energy target in the coming months. As a result, we are seeing significant investment in our city and in our community from these projects.

Not only are we significantly reducing the carbon intensity of the ACT economy and therefore reducing our city’s greenhouse gas emissions; we are also seeing jobs and investment in our local community. For example, the Windlab project itself is supporting the growth of the Canberra-based start up Windlab right here in our city. They estimate that growth in their business as a result of their success in the wind auction process will see salaries and on-costs fed back into the ACT economy worth over $240 million to our economy.

In addition, we will see a French-based company, Neoen, which is developing the Hornsdale project, grow its investment in our city through the $7 million investment in the Canberra Institute of Technology—a major investment in one of our key skills training centres. At the same time, it has now established its Asia-Pacific wind business here in the ACT. That is a very important commitment of growth in the renewable energy sector here in the ACT.

This is good news. It shows that the government’s renewable energy policies are working. It shows that the projects are being delivered and it shows that our city is getting the investment in jobs and economic activity right here in the ACT as well.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Minister, can you also update the Assembly on the other actions the government is taking to achieve the renewable energy target?

MR CORBELL: I thank Dr Bourke for his supplementary. Yes, in addition to the work that is being undertaken through the wind farm projects that I have just mentioned we are investing significantly in growing solar here in the ACT. We now have over 50 megawatts of renewable energy generation from solar here in the ACT, and that is a combination of the operational Royalla solar project and also over 30 megawatts of rooftop solar that has been installed in over 10,000 households across the ACT—half of that without any feed-in tariff support. That is a very, very positive development for our city.

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