Parabolic solar troughs

Australian Capital Territory, powered by 100% renewable energy by 2020, heads towards zero emissions by 2050

ICLEI Member Australian Capital Territory (ACT) will have 100% of its electricity needs met by renewable energy by 2020, announced Simon Corbell, Minister for the Environment and Climate Change on 29 April 2016. “The ACT Government is already an international leader in renewable energy and today I am pleased to announce that we have committed to the strongest legislated target of 100% renewable energy within the next four years,” Corbell said.

As leader in the field of renewable energy the ACT is already reaping a range of environmental and economic benefits. Not only providing clean power for the people of Canberra, new jobs are created and economic benefits gained by securing $400 million in local investment through a reverse auction process, while demonstrating that the switch to renewables is both achievable and affordable.

To meet the 100% target the government will expand its current large-scale renewable energy auction process from 109 megawatt (MW) to 200 MW, with additional capacity to be awarded subject to the value for money of the proposals brought forward. “Adding an extra 91 MW 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. This innovative reverse auction process has driven down the price of wind and solar energy to record lows. “We have so far achieved the lowest cost for renewable energy seen in Australia.” Legislation will be introduced to change the ACT’s feed-in-tariff legislation to accommodate the extra capacity required to meet the new target.

Renewable energy companies, such as Neoen, are establishing their Asia-Pacific headquarters in the ACT, while renewable energy initiatives are expanding commercial opportunities of local companies such as Windlab and RepositPower. Over the past five years, renewable energy jobs have grown six times faster in the ACT than any other jurisdiction in the country and twelve times faster than the national average.

The ACT participates in the Global 100% Renewable Energy Cities and Regions Network chaired by ICLEI. This growing network includes other leading cities such as Vancouver, Canada and Malmö, Sweden and aims to support and accelerate progress towards a renewable and sustainable energy transition by sharing knowledge and experience on solutions that work.

This 100% RE electricity target complements legislation introduced in early May 2016 that commits ACT to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. With this the ACT aligns with targets set out in the international Paris Agreement last year, and signed by Australia last month, which aims to hold the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. 

For more information visit www.environment.act.gov.au/climatechange
and www.iclei.org/lowcarboncity/100re.

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