Australian Capital Territory

ACT to be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy by 2020

THE ACT will have 100 per cent of its electricity needs met by renewable energy by 2020, Minister for the Environment and Climate Change Simon Corbell has announced.

Black Mountain, Canberra
Above: Black Mountain, Canberra / by Prescott Pym.

"The ACT Government is already an international leader in renewable energy and today I am pleased to announce that we have committed to the strongest legislated target of 100% renewable energy within the next four years," Mr Corbell said in a statement last week.

"With the current auction process underway, this year we would have secured enough renewable energy to meet our previous 90% renewable energy target by 2020 while demonstrating that the switch to renewables is both achievable and affordable.

"As leaders in the renewable energy field the ACT is reaping the environmental and economic benefits of decarbonisation. Not only are we providing clean power for the people of Canberra, we are also delivering jobs and economic benefits by securing $400 million in local investment through our reverse auction process.

"Taking the extra step to 100% at this time lets us take advantage of favourable market conditions to lock in great long-term prices for Canberrans. It also ensures we can meet our emission reduction targets if the Commonwealth's policy framework for its Renewable Energy Target continues to falter.

To meet the 100 per cent target, the government will expand its current large-scale renewable energy auction process from 109MW to 200MW, with additional capacity to be awarded subject to the value for money of the proposals brought forward.

Legislation will be introduced to change the ACT's feed-in-tariff legislation to accommodate the extra capacity required to meet the new target.

"Adding an extra 91MW of renewables to our current auction process will allow us to take advantage of the record low prices and significant local investment we have achieved in our recent auctions," Mr Corbell said.

"The ACT Government has set a significant undertaking with the vision of Canberra being an internationally recognised centre for renewable energy innovation and investment.

"Being powered by 100% renewables by 2020 places Canberra at the lead, both in Australia and internationally, of cities taking effective action on climate change."

The total cost is expected to peak at around $5.50 per household per week in 2020 before declining and this cost will be largely offset by energy savings from mandated energy efficiency measures.

Mr Corbell said the government's innovative reverse auction process has driven down the price of wind and solar energy to record lows.

"These reductions mean that the latest estimated price for 100% renewables in line with the estimates set out in Climate Change Action Plan 2 for achieving 90% renewables," he said.

"I am confident we can reach this highly ambitious target in the next four years, which will certainly place the territory at the forefront of the renewable energy target rankings. The target will demonstrate to industry, business and the community our community's commitment to tackling greenhouse gas emissions by embracing new clean energy technology."

Photo: Black Mountain, Canberra / 'Tall Tower, Long Shadow' / Prescott Pym / Licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC 2.0.

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