ACT Government 'getting it right on solar energy'

24th Sep 2012

Not long after announcing Australia's largest solar farm, the ACT Government has again revealed its commitment to renewable energy by publishing new targets for sustainable power.

The authority released a report outlining its plans to source 90 per cent of its energy needs through renewable means by 2020, while lowering its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent in the same time (compared with 1990 levels).

It is also looking to achieve zero net emissions by 2060 – all in all, a fairly ambitious aim some might say.

And these efforts haven't gone unnoticed, with the Australian Solar Council highlighting the government for setting a good example for energy efficiency in the country.

Making a fairly hefty contribution to these targets will be the aforementioned solar farm, which is a 20-megawatt facility in Royalla.

The plant will produce enough energy to power 4,400 homes in the area. 

John Grimes, chief executive of the Australian Solar Council, praised the ACT Government's stance on renewable technology – and solar in particular.

"It is great to see that the role Big Solar can play in meeting Australia's future energy demands is being recognised. Solar projects are central to reaching energy and emissions targets, as well as saving householder's money on their energy bills," he explained.

The government's report covered a range of energy efficiency measures – including rooftop solar PV, a sector it claimed remains a popular option for many homeowners.

According to the stats, the residential housing industry could account for up to 220 kilotonnes of emissions savings by taking advantage of property upgrades and more environmentally-friendly appliances.

Advancements in solar energy storage will also overcome some of the territory's problems in electricity generation, it added, particularly during the winter season.

Mr Grimes said Canberra households could be saving up to $300 annually by 2015, facilitated by the significant reductions in renewable technology costs and the spread of energy efficiency programs in ACT.

He remarked: "Again we see the ACT Government leading the way and after an extensive planning process dating back to before 2007, we now have important confirmation that a renewable energy future is feasible, affordable and sustainable."

The government's work should be seen as a framework for how solar auctions and network spending can contribute to lowering the costs of upgrading to renewable energy technologies, the expert stated.

This is becoming particularly important in light of increasingly high electricity prices in the country, he concluded.

Posted by Mike Peacock

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