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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 16 September 2015) . . Page.. 3083 ..

The Canberra Hospital delivers a critical 24-hour service to our community, and it is the government’s single largest user of energy, with 25 per cent of ACT government energy use coming from the hospital campus alone. This $3.3 million loan to the Health Directorate will be used for an energy efficiency upgrade throughout the hospital. The project aims to replace as many existing lights as appropriate with clinically suitable light emitting diode—or LED—lighting. Once installed, this is estimated to save on electricity use by up to 2.5 gigawatt hours every year.

To further reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with the operation of the hospital and to further reduce the hospital’s electricity bills, the loan will also be used to fund the installation of a 500-kilowatt photovoltaic—or PV—solar system on hospital buildings. Once installed, this system is expected to reduce the hospital’s energy consumption by a further 721,000 kilowatt hours each and every year.

It is expected that through this combined lighting and PV project we will see electricity use at the hospital reduce by 12 per cent. It will save the hospital $490,000 each and every year in electricity bills, and once the loan is repaid through the carbon-neutral fund, the savings ongoing are accrued directly to the hospital budget to be able to be spent on more productive things than higher electricity bills.

This is a very exciting project. It demonstrates how this government is using a smart loan facility for its own agencies to drive efficiency in the use of energy, particularly electricity in our hospital buildings, to reduce the government’s carbon footprint and also see more of our budget used in worthwhile service delivery and less on high electricity bills due to inefficient lighting and electricity technology. This is a very important decision. It is one of the single largest loans the government has made under the carbon-neutral government fund to date, but it demonstrates the real effectiveness and efficiency of investing in energy efficiency and how that frees up departmental budgets to spend money in other areas of important service delivery for our community and drive down the government’s greenhouse gas emissions.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Minister, can you tell us more about the carbon-neutral ACT government fund and how it is assisting the government not only to improve the energy efficiency of government operations but also to save money?

MR CORBELL: I thank Dr Bourke for his supplementary. The budget in 2012-13 provided funding of approximately $5 million to establish the carbon-neutral government fund. In addition, from each year from 2012-13 onwards the government chose to redirect a portion of the funds previously allocated for the purchase of the Greenpower product for ACT government electricity contracts to the fund to allow for improvements in energy efficiency across government buildings, because of course the greenest source of electricity that you can use is the electricity you do not use. Reducing electricity use is, of course, the most efficient choice for our community and for government operations.

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