Growing our Clean Economy
Canberra is positioned to become an internationally recognised centre for renewable energy innovation and investment. Our dynamic, knowledge-based economy is in the heart of one of Australia's fastest growing regions for renewable energy investment.
The growth of our clean economy is underpinned by the Territory's renewable electricity target of 100% by 2020. It is also supported by the world-class technology, economic researchers and research facilities available in the ACT. These unique elements make the ACT a highly attractive location for renewable energy businesses.
There are many other advantages for renewable energy businesses to locate here, including the following:
- our highly skilled labour force and strong local business capabilities
- access to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and government contracts
- an established network of renewable energy stakeholders and
- a community that strongly supports environmental initiatives.
Driving the development of the renewables industry in the ACT, the Territory's Renewable Energy Innovation Fund will provide $12 million of funding over 5 years to support Canberra based renewable energy companies. It will also attract new ventures to the Territory, and help develop new research and trades training opportunities and support the development of the CBR Renewables Precinct.
Research, education and training
Canberra is home to nation-leading research and training organisations that provide services to the renewable energy industry both nationally and internationally. Here are some examples.
ANU Energy Change Institute provides a broad portfolio of research activity that is unique in Australia ranging from science and engineering of energy generation and energy efficiency, to energy regulations, economics, sociology and policy. ANU has deep expertise in solar energy and from 2016, ANU will run Australia’s first wind energy masters course.
The Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems, hosted at the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science, supports research into photovoltaic solar cells and concentrator solar thermal technologies by about 80 staff and PhD students.
Canberra Institute of Technology is a dynamic, connected and diverse vocational education and training provider, offering quality skills development to individuals, employers and industry in Canberra, Australia and globally with a strong focus on emerging energy technologies. Its Renewable Energy Skills Centre of Excellence initiative will ensure robust training for the next generation of renewable energy professionals in Asia-Pacific, including retraining workers transitioning from emissions-intensive industry sectors.
The ACT Government provides a high degree of investment certainty for renewable energy project developers and financiers with its legislated renewable energy feed-in tariff mechanism and reverse auction process.
A number of companies have been awarded feed-in tariffs for 240 MW of renewable energy projects. One of these projects is the 20MW Royalla Solar Farm currently the largest solar farm in Australia. Additional feed-in tariffs for a further 250 MW of renewable energy projects are expected to be awarded before 2020.
In tandem with the development of these new renewable energy projects, the ACT Government is aiming to drive sustained job creation in the Territory in the renewable energy sector.
Companies seeking large-scale feed-in tariff support must commit to a local corporate presence and contribute enduring benefits to our economy by, for example, using regional contractors and labour force. They must also develop strong research partnerships with our tertiary institutions to build the capacity of these institutions to operate as a national hub for education and trades’ skills in renewable energy.
Twenty-five organisations across industry, research and training and government have already signed on as inaugural partners to the ACT Government's Renewable Industry Development Strategy.