Australian Capital Territory

ACT Government to amend large scale feed-in tariff law to help meet renewables target

THE ACT Government will amend its large scale feed-in tariff law to support the development of up to 550 megawatts of large scale wind, solar and waste to energy projects to help achieve the city's greenhouse gas reduction targets, Environment and Sustainable Development Minister Simon Corbell announced last week.

The announcement confirms an expansion of the amount of renewable energy generation able to be supported by the Electricity Feed in (Large Scale Renewable Energy Generation) Act, from the existing cap of 210 megawatts to a proposed 550 megawatts – enough to achieve the mandated 90 per cent renewable energy target set last year.

The large scale feed-in tariff law has already been used to support the development of three large scale solar farms in the ACT, including the 20 megawatt Royalla Solar Farm south of Tuggeranong, which is currently under construction.

Mr Corbell also tabled an independent review into the large scale solar auction, which found the ACT Government's solar auction process was an efficient way of investing in renewable energy at the lowest possible cost.

With these amendments, the ACT is projected to retain the lowest electricity costs of any state or territory in the country, according to the government.

"The innovative feed-in-tariff (FiT) mechanism means the cost to the community of achieving the 90% renewable energy target peaks in 2020 at around $4 per household per week and declines thereafter," Mr Corbell said.

"This pass through cost is also lower than that projected when Action Plan 2 was released in 2012, due to factors including reductions in the costs of renewable technologies. This cost impact is about half of 1% of average gross incomes for low, middle and high income households."

The proposed expansion of the amount of renewable energy able to be supported by the large scale feed-in tariff law means Canberra will be able to meet its mandated renewable energy target and the 40 per cent reduction in carbon emissions set for the year 2020.

As previously announced in Action Plan 2, the ACT Government's plan to implement its climate change strategy, approximately 1.4 million tonnes of the 2 million tonnes of CO2 needing to be abated will be achieved by switching to renewable energy.

"The expansion of the amount of renewable energy to be generated under this law will leverage significant investment in our city and the surrounding region and will leverage our city's world leading research capacity in areas such as photovoltaics and wind resource assessment," Mr Corbell said.

"The Government expects to make further announcements on how this increase in renewable energy capacity will be deployed in the coming weeks."

More information, including the solar auction review document, is available from the ACT Government's Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate website at <http://www.environment.act.gov.au/>.

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