ACT will pay less to become green energy beacon

July 5, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

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“In a bigger sense, the ┬ámore important effect really is the ACT, by continuing with their renewables policy, will stand out more in the national context [and] it will be for the time being, the only remaining ┬ábeacon of an ambitious renewable energy policy.”

He expects the RET (20 per cent of power used by 2020 coming from renewable sources) to be watered down after the 2016 federal election and wholesale prices to fall from scrapping the carbon tax.

Wind energy companies competing in future ACT auctions will be focused on winning what remains of renewable energy development in Australia.

“You may even expect that the prices demanded by wind power developers, and solar developers in the second solar auction, may well be lower as a result of winding back of federal climate change policies, simply because there is less demand for renewable energy development across Australia,” Dr Jotzo said.

“At the same time, the way contracts are structured for solar and wind power producers under the ACT auction system, they will need to be paid a bigger gap payment, if the wholesale price is lower.

”For the amount of electricity produced by the renewable generators under an ACT contract, that wholesale price reduction will be a net zero, because whatever we save on wholesale price, will have to be added in paying the larger gap payment.”

Dr Jotzo points out not all the ACT’s electricity is produced by renewable energy companies, and electricity not produced by ACT generators will be cheaper.

“There will be other changes as well,” Dr Jotzo said. “If the RET is watered down, that will have an upward effect on wholesale prices in the national electricity market, because you will get less renewable energy into the grid than you otherwise would.”

At present the RET is depressing national wholesale electricity prices. “This is exactly the reason we see such strong pressure to remove, or water down the RET coming from owners of coal-fired power stations,” he said.

The other half of the story was how many renewable energy certificates the ACT needed to fulfil its 90 per cent target.

If the RET is watered down, Actew Retail, and other ACT retailers will be purchasing fewer renewable energy certificates.

Consequently the ACT would need to supply more local green power, which would raise costs.

Dr Jotzo will be speaking at a seminar on Monday night at the University of Canberra on new energy futures, along with South East Region of Renewable Energy Excellence chair Liz Veitch.

SERREE is establishing an industry cluster in the ACT region of renewable energy generators, businesses, researchers and policymakers, who will collaborate and build a wealth of knowledge, such as best practice on engaging with the community.

“Community engagement is so important to the sustainability of the industry, it’s an area that needs work,” Ms Veitch said.

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