The ACT has set a goal of sourcing 100% of its electricity needs from renewables by 2020, 5 years earlier than previous planned.
The Territory had originally intended on reaching 100% renewable energy by 2025.
Announced by Minister for the Environment and Climate Change Simon Corbell on Friday, the brought-forward target is the result of the ACT securing enough renewable energy to meet its previous 90% target by 2020 during this year.
“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,” said the Minister.
The total cost of this new effort is expected to reach approximately $5.50 per household per week in 2020 before reducing. However, Minister Corbell says the majority of this cost will be offset by energy savings from mandated energy efficiency measures.
The cost is in line with the 90% target as the ACT is getting more bang for its buck from its reverse auction process, which has driven down the price of wind and solar power. Some of the projects already generating clean electricity for the ACT include Royalla Solar Farm in the Territory and Coonooer Bridge Wind Farm in Bendigo, Victoria. Power stations yet to come online include Hornsdale Wind Farm in South Australia.
In order to reach its new 100% goal, the ACT government will expand its current large-scale renewable energy auction process from 109MW to 200MW.
The ACT has shown the rest of Australia that switching to renewables through tools such as reverse auctions is not only achievable, but also affordable.
“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,” stated Minister Corbell. ” It also ensures we can meet our emission reduction targets if the Commonwealth’s policy framework for its Renewable Energy Target continues to falter.”
Just on that point – according to the Sydney Morning Herald, a new report from BIS Shrapnel to be released today says it is highly doubtful Australia can meet its 2020 renewable energy target. $10 billion of investment is needed, but lenders are hesitant due to government policy instability in recent years.