THE ACT Government will continue its support for the renewable energy industry by holding a second large-scale wind auction by the end of this year, Minister for the Environment Simon Corbell announced last week.
Speaking at the Australian Clean Energy Summit in Sydney on Wednesday, Mr Corbell said the government was finalising its considerations on the next steps for the second round of the wind auction to be commenced later this year with a similar capacity release.
"By 2017, the ACT is now expected to secure 65 per cent of its electricity needs from renewable sources supported feed-in tariff entitlements. We are well on track to achieve our 90 per cent renewable energy target and now is the right time to secure competitive prices and consolidate our renewable energy and economic development objectives," Mr Corbell said.
"The ACT will be seeking strong and competitive prices, and it is my recommendation that community engagement and economic development evaluation criteria again be robustly applied.
"The ACT Government is mindful of the opportunity that the current market conditions present for the ACT in relation to securing highly competitive wind energy proposals. Therefore, the ACT Government is seeking to progress our nation-leading renewable energy targets by initiating a second large-scale wind reverse auction."
In his address to the summit, Mr Corbell called on states and territories to progress large-scale feed-in tariff laws and therefore reduce reliance on Commonwealth support. He also urged industry to encourage states and territories to take up such policies and follow the lead of the ACT.
"It is a mistake to solely rely on national policy settings, and just this week we have been reminded of the hostile attitude held by the federal government towards the development of renewable energy in Australia," Mr Corbell said.
"We need to widen the range of measures available to realise renewable energy's potential and see it less vulnerable to the current toxic partisan debate. While a strong national RET must be part of the picture, 33,000GWh will clearly not be sufficient to achieve the abatement Australia must realise if it is to proportionally match the commitments made by large economies such as the US, China and the EU.
"We have seen through the ACT's experience in pioneering large-scale feed in tariff laws and the award winning reverse auction process that we can lock in some of the best value for money clean energy generation available in Australia. States and territories must be at the forefront in the adaptation of renewable energy if Australia is to succeed in achieving globally meaningful carbon abatement by the middle of this century."