Page 4378 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 25 October 2017

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Overseas, the United States has proposed changes to regulations to require market operators to revise their electricity tariffs to better accommodate the participation of battery storage systems and allow for distributed energy resources. Here in the ACT we can start with the ACT government investigating options with ACT energy retailers to accommodate battery storage, including the availability of distributed battery power to the grid during times of peak demand and associated electricity tariffs.

Investment in large-scale battery storage systems along with household solar are part of the future in the national electricity market. The uptake of battery storage means that consumers will be able to meet their own electricity needs and, with the right accommodations, will also allow for dispatchable energy for the national electricity market so that when demand exceeds supply the electricity grid can draw on stored household energy at the time that is needed, providing stability to the market and supporting a stable transition to renewable energy.

When we hit 100 per cent renewable energy in 2020, 68 per cent of the ACT’s emissions will come from vehicles and transport. Again, battery technology will also play a key role in reducing the ACT’s carbon emissions from vehicles and transport. In order to meet our zero net emissions target by 2050 at the latest, we must work to improve the uptake of electric vehicles both within the government fleet and privately. The ACT government is working to reduce public transport emissions. In August Minister Fitzharris unveiled a fully electric and a hybrid Volvo bus for Transport Canberra, to be joined by a third bus in December. These three buses are part of a trial which, at the end of 2018, will allow the ACT government to better understand the viability of using electric buses as an ongoing part of the future bus fleet.

The new bus depot for our expanding fleet, due to be built in my electorate, in Phillip, will also include a recharging station for these buses. This is coupled with the ACT government’s light rail project, which will be a significant part of our integrated transport network in the future and will also operate on 100 per cent renewable electricity. However, it should be noted that public transport generates only about three per cent of transport emissions. Whilst we must continue to encourage the take-up of public transport, we also need to encourage the take-up of private electric vehicles in the ACT.

The end of the internal combustion engine is in sight. According to the If you build it, they will charge report from the Australia Institute, the average passenger vehicle sold in Australia in 2014 emitted 188 grams of carbon per kilometre. Electric vehicles, particularly when their source of electricity is 100 per cent renewable, will significantly reduce carbon emissions from passenger vehicles.

Firstly, the affordability of electric vehicles in the take-up of electric vehicles for their private use is important. Our government has already lowered duties for fuel-efficient cars, and electric cars are gradually becoming less expensive. Bloomberg New Energy Finance analysis predicts that by 2025 electric cars will become cheaper than conventional cars.

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