The ACT will target 100% renewable energy use by 2020, five years earlier than previously announced, cementing its position as a world leader in the commitment to renewables.
To meet the 100% 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, according to ACT Environment Minister Simon Corbell.
“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.
Legislation will be introduced to change the ACT’s feed-in-tariff legislation to accommodate the extra capacity required to meet the new target.
Canberrans will see a significant increase in the power bills in the first year as a result of the move to renewables, peaking at around $5.50 per household per week, but Mr Corbell says that will drop off over time and will be largely offset by energy savings from mandated energy efficiency measures.
The Minister said that with the current auction process underway, the ACT would have secured enough renewable energy to meet its previous 90% renewable energy target by 2020 while demonstrating that the switch to renewables was both achievable and affordable.
“As leaders in the renewable energy field the ACT is reaping the environmental and economic benefits of decarbonisation,” he said.
“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.”
The Government’s 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.
“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,” Mr Corbell said.
File photo of Simon Corbell by Charlotte Harper