Page 4655 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 31 October 2017

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The government has made substantial progress in the past year on the actions in the ACT climate change adaptation strategy to improve our resilience to climate change impacts such as more variable rainfall, expanding heat waves and more intense storms and bushfires. The ACT has signed up to key initiatives including joining 165 other leading cities and sub-national governments from 33 countries to sign the global Under 2 MOU, committing the ACT to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a level consistent with keeping global warming to under two degrees.

We have also joined the cities power partnership, amongst others, aiming to identify opportunities for clean energy technology, energy efficiency and ways to adapt to a changing climate. Through this partnership the ACT will share learnings with other cities and councils to support climate action across Australia.

In the past year the ACT government has also won awards for our climate work, including: the carbon disclosure project’s award for best renewable target for an Australian city and the Institute for Public Administration’s 2017 public sector innovation award for innovative solutions for promoting renewable energy investment.

I am pleased to report on the ACT’s renewable energy projects and I can confirm to members that two large feed-in tariff supported solar generators started in the past year: the 13-megawatt Mugga Lane solar park, and the 10 megawatt Williamsdale solar farm. Also, two large feed-in tariff supported wind generators began earlier this year: the 80.5 megawatt Ararat wind farm in Victoria and the 100 megawatt Hornsdale 1 wind farm in South Australia.

The energy efficiency improvement scheme has continued to achieve energy and bill savings in households and businesses by introducing activities such as energy efficient heating and commercial lighting. Low income households pay the highest proportion of their incomes on energy bills but are least able to make improvements by investing in energy efficiency. A priority household target within the scheme ensures that a proportion of savings are delivered specifically to low income households, alleviating energy poverty caused by rising energy prices.

Actsmart has supported more than 1,000 low income households in the last year to make their homes more energy efficient, comfortable and reduce energy bills, as well as holding do-it-yourself workshops or events to help more than 1,350 householders draught-proof their homes, implement energy efficient home cooling and make the correct solar choices for their homes.

A new Energy Consumer Advocate was appointed last December to provide a dedicated voice for ACT household and small business energy consumers in policy and regulatory processes. The ACT government worked with the community and industry to respond to a whole-of-system electricity supply emergency event on 10 February 2017. Through the collective efforts of the ACT community, businesses and government agencies to reduce their electricity use, potential blackouts were avoided.

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