Each year in the ACT we use about 2,900,000 megawatt hours of electricity in our homes and workplaces. In 2014-15, around 80% of this energy came from non-renewable sources creating 2.3 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.
In 2016 the ACT Government legislated a new target of sourcing 100% of the Territory’s electricity from renewable sources in the ACT or across the National Electricity Market by 2020. This includes roof-top solar, the Territory’s share of the national Renewable Energy Target and GreenPowerTM purchases.
Meeting this target requires some innovative thinking, like the reverse auction feed-in tariff mechanism being used to facilitate new investment in large-scale renewable generation facilities. This approach is the first of its kind in Australia.
Achieving the 100% target is expected to peak at around $5.50 per household per week in 2020 while reducing our emissions by around 2 million tonnes in that year.
The ACT is leading the world on renewable energy. We’re making energy smarter through battery storage, ‘the next big thing’ in supplying renewable energy.
One of the largest roll outs of household batteries in the world has begun right here as the ACT Government provides $25 million in funding through its 'Next Generation Energy Storage Program'. The Program will provide batteries to over 5000 homes and businesses by 2020.
If you are interested in installing solar battery storage and for more information download the fact sheet
Wind is very much part of our renewable energy future in the ACT.
In 2014 and 2015, the ACT Government ran two reverse auctions to drive investment in 400 MW of wind generating capacity. Supported wind farms could be located anywhere in the National Electricity Market which covers all states and territories except Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
The ACT Government received 33 proposals in the two auctions.
The winners from the first wind auction were the 19.4 MW Coonooer Bridge Wind Farm (Victoria), the 80.5 MW Ararat Wind Farm (Victoria) and the 100 MW Hornsdale Stage 1 Wind Farm (South Australia).
The winners from the second wind auction were the 100 MW Sapphire Stage 1 Wind Farm (New South Wales) and the 100 MW Hornsdale Stage 2 Wind Farm (South Australia).
These wind farms will deliver about 50% of Canberra’s electricity supply from renewable energy sources in 2020 reducing the Territory’s emissions by 1.9 million tonnes in that year. The cost of the two wind auctions is expected to peak at around $ 3.20 per household per week in 2020.
Auction bidders needed to demonstrate competitive feed-in tariff prices and project readiness. They also needed to demonstrate effective community engagement practices and their agreement to significantly invest in the ACT economy. The winners' assets could be located outside the ACT but they were encouraged to be run from new operation centres in Canberra.
Successful wind auction proposals have resulted in new education and training courses being established at the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) and the Australia National University to service the wind industry as it continues to grow in the region and around Australia. They have also resulted in two new wind companies establishing their national offices in Canberra and a new microgrid being developed at CIT.
In 2016, the ACT Government is running the Next Generation Renewables Auction that will drive further investment in up to 200 MW of new wind or solar generating capacity.
Canberra is the solar capital of Australia. More than 10% of our houses have rooftop solar systems and the 20 MW solar photovoltaic plant at Royalla, south of Canberra, is one of the nation’s largest solar farms.
Increasing the ACT’s generation of electricity from solar is an ACT Government priority.
The government's rooftop solar feed-in tariff for solar systems up to 30KW capacity was largely responsible for the installation of around 26 MW of small and medium rooftop solar by the end of 2015. This is in addition to a further 19MW of rooftop solar not supported by the feed-on tariff scheme.
The government ran an award-winning solar auction to develop up to 40 MW of large-scale solar generating capacity in the Territory in 2012 and 2013.
The winners were the 20 MW Royalla Solar Farm, the 13 MW Mugga Lane Solar Park and the 7 MW OneSun Capital Solar Farm.
The ACT Government began a community solar scheme in 2014 that will allocate a feed-in tariff for up to 1 MW of large-scale solar generating capacity owned and operated by ACT community interests.
The government's work doesn’t stop here. In 2016, the ACT Government is undertaking the Next Generation Renewables program to support the roll-out of distributed solar battery storage in ACT homes and businesses. It is expected the program will support 36 megawatts of energy storage to be rolled out across more than 5000 Canberra homes and businesses between the years 2016 and 2020. This is designed to keep the ACT at the cutting edge of innovation in renewable energy.