ACT a frontrunner in renewables race

The ACT, South Australia and Tasmania are all leading the renewables race while the Federal Government remains stuck at the starting block, according to a new report released by the Climate Council yesterday.

The report says that states and territories are the driving force behind Australia’s transition to clean, affordable and efficient energy and storage technology.

The ACT is named as one of the frontrunners in the ‘Renewables Ready, States Leading the Charge’ report – listed equal second with Tasmania, with South Australia just ahead.

“Tasmania, South Australia and the ACT continue to lead on percentage renewable electricityand have the most renewable energy capacity per capita (excluding large-hydro),” states the report.

“The ACT’s leadership on renewable energy shows the positive impact that one small territory can have in a few short years with political will and smart policy design.”

The Climate Council report states that in the absence of energy and climate policy at a national level, all states and territories except Western Australia now have strong renewable energy targets and/or net zero emissions targets in place.

“State and territory targets, plus existing and announced coal closures (such as Liddell Power Station) are expected to deliver the Federal government’s 2030 emissions reduction target of 26-28% reduction on 2005 levels, even without any action from the Federal Government,” the report states.

The Climate Council report singles out the ACT for being the first state or territory where both major political parties have provided bipartisan support to its renewable energy target of 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2020.

“In the context of national policy uncertainty, the ACT was able to capitalise on its ‘first mover advantage’ and a buyer’s market, by attracting some of the best renewable energy projects at low prices,” the report states.

The report states that the ACT Government has been progressively transitioning to renewable power sources since 2012, by holding five large-scale renewable energy reverse auctions aimed at purchasing renewable energy from wind and solar projects at the lowest price.

“The ACT’s reverse auctions have supported 600MW of wind power and 40MW of large-scale solar, with the projects supporting jobs and training opportunities across Canberra, Victoria and South Australia,” the report states.

“The following projects completed construction in 2016: Mugga Lane Solar Farm (13MW), Coonooer Bridge Wind Farm (19.4MW), Hornsdale 1 Wind Farm (100MW) and Willamsdale Solar Farm (10MW).”

ACT Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, Shane Rattenbury, said that in the absence of ambitious national action on climate change it is important for states and territories to play a strong role.

“Canberra is leading the nation with our progressive targets of 100% renewable electricity by 2020, reducing emissions by 40% by 2020, and achieving net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest,” Mr Rattenbury said.

This article first appeared on The Riot Act on 1 September 2017

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