What is Government doing?
The ACT Government is an international leader in responding to climate change with some of the most ambitious greenhouse gas emissions targets in Australia.The ACT has committed to achieving 100% renewable electricity by 2020, as well as net zero emissions from the ACT by 2045.
A new climate strategy
We are currently developing a new climate strategy for the ACT. From early 2017 through to April 2018 we sought ideas and suggestions from the community on how best to reduce emissions and prepare for climate change. Over this time we spoke to over 1,700 people at stalls, events and roundtables and received around 2,000 suggestions from the community.
The new strategy will set a clear direction for achieving net zero emissions for the ACT by 2045.
For more information visit YourSay.
Climate change adaptation
The climate change adaptation strategy sets out a path to reduce our vulnerability to the impacts of extreme weather events and increase the resilience of our community to climate change impacts. It identifies priorities for adapting to climate change and coordinates our work so we can more effectively build resilience.
Zero emissions vehicles
Government is committed to reducing emissions from transport through encouraging active travel, providing high quality, low emissions public transport options and encouraging the transition to zero emissions vehicles.
Transport is expected to account for over 60% of the ACT’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, with the majority of these resulting from the use of private cars. Reducing emissions from transport presents one of our biggest challenges in achieving net zero emissions, but also presents opportunities. Making the shift to clean, zero emissions vehicles will offer many benefits for the ACT including generating new economic opportunities, reducing emissions, and reducing noise and air pollution.
Our action plan outlines how we will encourage the transition to zero emissions vehicles such as electric cars and electric bikes.
Leading by example
The ACT Government is committing to achieving carbon neutrality in its own operations by 2020. Government has a range of initiatives to achieve this, including energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction activities by directorates as well as the ACT’s broader renewable energy initiatives.
How is the ACT Government acting on climate change over the short/long term?
The ACT Government recognises that climate change is one of the most challenging issues any community faces now and into the future. Here in the ACT, our climate is already changing. As the climate continues to warm up, the community is at risk of extreme weather events occurring such as heatwaves, droughts, bushfires and storms.
It is critical that the ACT reduces our greenhouse gas emissions to zero as quickly as possible to help keep global warming well below two degrees and to reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.
The ACT is recognised as a global leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and has some of the most ambitious emission reduction targets of any jurisdiction in the world. The targets, set under the Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act 2010, are to achieve:
- 100% renewable electricity by 2020
- 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020
- net zero emissions by 2045
The ACT Government reports annually on greenhouse gas emissions. The ACT achieved its first legislated emissions reduction target of peaking per person emissions by 30 June 2013. This means that the amount of greenhouse gas emissions (in carbon dioxide equivalent, ‘CO2-e’) generated per person in the ACT has declined since 2013.
In 2016-17 the ACT emitted 9.64 tonnes of CO2-e per person. This was a further reduction from 2014-15 when emissions were 10.26 tonnes CO2-e per person. In 2005-06 ACT per person emissions peaked at 12.72 tonnes CO2-e per person.
Because the climate of the ACT is destined to change, regardless of current actions, we still need to develop adaptation options that will reduce our vulnerability and increase our resilience. The ACT Government has developed a range of interim actions that will enable us to begin to adapt to the impacts of climate change including:
- future-proofing our settlements and infrastructure by building climate-wise requirements into building and planning policies as well as enhancing our living infrastructure
- protecting our natural resources and ecosystems by targeted intervention to safeguard species.
Canberra is one of the most liveable cities in the world. The ACT Government is working with the community to keep our city smart, sustainable, liveable and resilient through all seasons.
Two grants programs are provided:
Community Garden grants , which support residents, groups and owner corporations in multi-unit developments to develop a community garden together. The gardens help Canberra to become more resilient in relation to food security. They also create social links and support healthy lifestyles.
Zero Emission grants (introduced in 2017) have a strong focus on engaging the community to do their part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through behaviour change, sustainable building techniques, composting, recycling and transport. The projects will each play a part in Canberra’s transition to net zero emissions.
Check out the Actsmart website for information on the Community Garden or Zero Emissions Grants project near you.
Actsmart has sustainability programs for businesses, schools and households. For day to day efforts to help take action on climate change visit the Actsmart website for free, practical and simple advice on how you can reduce your emissions, be more energy efficient and prepare for climate change.
What are the ACT Government’s renewable energy targets?
The ACT Government’s renewable energy target is to be powered by 100% renewable electricity by 2020. For Canberrans this means the equivalent amount of electricity used by ACT households and business in a year will covered by renewable electricity generation from across Australia.
Between 2016-17 and 2020-21, the target year for the ACT’s 2020 renewable electricity target,the Territory expects to have the following supplies of renewable electricity.
|ACT renewable electricity supply percentage||29.1%||51.3%||77.7%||96.6%||100.0%|
What are the ACT Government’s renewable electricity percentages now and through to 2020?
In the 2016-17 financial year, 29.1% of Canberra’s electricity supply was from renewable sources.
The breakdown of contributing renewable sources now and as projected into the future is shown below.
Solar electricity supplied to the ACT by rooftop solar systems, as well as large feed-in tariff supported solar farms, together reach a maximum of 5.2% of the ACT’s electricity supply by 2020-21.
Large feed-in tariff supported wind farms supply 74.2% of the ACT’s electricity supply in 2020-21. When added to the wind proportion of the ACT share of the national Renewable Energy Target, wind supplies around 90% of the ACT’s 100%-by-2020 renewable electricity target generation.
The renewable electricity target will also provide over 95% of the emission reduction needed to reach the ACT’s 40%-by-2020 greenhouse gas reduction target.
ACT rooftop solar generation
ACT share of national Renewable Energy Target
ACT GreenPower purchases
ACT large feed-in tariff supported solar farm generation
ACT large feed-in tariff supported wind farm generation
What does the ACT Government’s investment in renewables look like/include?
Canberra’s ‘Solar Highway’ includes four solar farms:
- Mount Majura Solar Farm
- Mugga Lane Solar Park
- Royalla Solar Farm
- Williamsdale Solar Farm (including small-medium scale and large-scale FiT components)
The four solar farms have a combined total of 177,340 panels along a 50 kilometre stretch and are capable of powering more than 11,000 Canberra home.
|Facility||Location||FiT Price ($/MWh)||Capacity (MW)||Annual generation (MWh/yr)||Number of panels||Equivalent number of households powered (average consumption of 7.3 MWh/yr)|
|Royalla Solar Farm||ACT||$186||20||36,937||83,000||5,052|
|Mt Majura Solar Farm*||ACT||$342.70 and $301.60||2.0||4,500||7,340||615|
|Williamsdale Solar Farm (large-scale)||ACT||$186||7||14,855||26,000||2,011|
|Williamsdale Solar Farm (medium-scale)||ACT||$301.60||3.0||7,145||10,000||977|
|Mugga Lane Solar Park||ACT||$178||13||22,137||51,000||3,027|
Canberra's wind farms
The ACT’s wind farms include:
- Coonooer Bridge Wind Farm
- Ararat Wind Farm
- Sapphire Stage 1 Wind Farm
- Hornsdale Stage 1, 2 and 3
- Crookwell 2 Wind Farm
Together, the five wind farms have 192 turbines, and will contribute 74.2% of the ACT’s electricity supply in 2020.
|Facility||Location||FiT Price ($/MWh)||Capacity (MW)||Annual generation (MWh/yr)||Number of turbines||Equivalent number of households powered (average consumption of 7.3 MWh/yr)|
|Coonooer Bridge Wind Farm||Bendigo, Vic||$81.50||19.4||81,856||6||11,195|
|Ararat Wind Farm||Ararat, Vic||$87||80.5||271,700||27||37,158|
|Sapphire Stage 1 Wind Farm||Glenn Innes, NSW||$89.10||100||349,703||32||47,826|
|Hornsdale Wind Farm Stage 1, 2 and 3||Port Augusta, SA||$80.70 (weighted average across 3 stages)||309||1,232,566||99||168,568|
|Crookwell 2 Wind Farm||Crookwell, NSW (Capital Region)||$86.60||91||304,099||28||41,589|
How does the community benefit from the ACT Government’s investment in renewables?
Canberra is recognised nationally and internationally as a hub for renewable energy research, business innovation and investment. The ACT Government’s investment in renewable energy will bring more than $500 million into our local economy by 2036.
Through our work, Canberra is becoming known internationally as a progressive city that is a hub for renewable energy research, business innovation and investment.
The ACT’s leadership is also creating jobs. Between 2010 and 2016 local renewable energy jobs increased by 22% when national jobs in the sector declined. Canberra also has 5% of the nation’s renewable energy jobs despite having only 1.7% of its population.
Other benefits to the community from our investment in renewables include:
Growing the local corporate footprint
Over the past 24 months leading international companies including CWP Renewables, Neoen, Global Power Generation and Siemens have established Asia-Pacific headquarters in Canberra, joining existing Canberra industry leaders including Reposit Power and Windlab
- CWP Renewables has committed to building its microgrid export business in Canberra, including a $33 million microgrid demonstration project involving ANU and Data 61, Australia’s largest data innovation group
- Already, around 2,000 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy projects around the world are managed from Canberra. This equates to around 50%of the total deployed non-hydro renewables capacity in Australia.
Benefits to local businesses
- All of the ACT’s renewables projects are required to ensure participation from local contractors, with most making firm commitment to a minimum local spend
- The $12 million, industry funded Renewable Energy Innovation Fund is supporting the <2 degrees Renewables Innovation Hub, a collaborative co-working space located in Canberra’s wider renewable energy precinct. Since opening in late 2016, the hub has helped nearly 30 businesses, and held more than 60 targeted industry events
- The innovation fund is also providing up to $2 million towards a commercialisation grants program. This is providing seed funding to help local start-ups to develop and commercialise new technology such as new household battery controls, hydrogen fuel cells and solar radiation forecasting
Building Canberra’s capacity as a national tertiary education and trades’ skills hub
- The Renewable Energy Skills Centre of Excellence at the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) is now offering Australia’s only Global Wind Organisation accredited wind safety and technical training. Siemens and its subcontractors will provide the first intake of students. In subsequent intakes we anticipate demand from Australia and the region
- Canberra installer, EPC Solar, will partner with CIT to deliver battery storage trades training from 2018
- The successful partnership between the recently ASX-listed Windlab and the Australian National University to offer Australia’s only masters course in wind development is now in its second year and has already been delivered to more than 50 students
- Windlab is also working with the ACT’s public and private high schools to raise awareness of renewable energy
The ACT is supporting an $8 million research program on battery storage at Australia’s leading cross disciplinary Energy Change Institute based at the Australian National University. This world-leading program will research improved ways to store and integrate renewable energy into the grid
- The ACT’s $25 million next generation battery storage program is supporting the rollout of up to 5,000 smart, small-scale batteries in homes and businesses across Canberra. This is the world’s largest virtual power station with over 400 small scale batteries deployed by the end of 2017
- Batteries collect 1-5 minute interval data across 30 performance indicators, with this data being made available for research and industry development purposes
- The ACT is also working with the ANU, Global Power Generation, Hyundai, Neoen and Siemens to develop a significant, $57 million technology demonstration and research program on the use of zero carbon hydrogen for transport, grid support and gas injection
For more information on the benefits of renewable energy investment visit http://www.environment.act.gov.au/energy/growth-in-the-clean-economy/local-investment.
How did the ACT Government’s reverse auction process work?
The ACT Government’s innovative reverse auction process ensured Canberra residents received the best value for their renewable electricity — consistently securing some of the lowest-known prices for wind and solar at the time.
A reverse auction means companies compete to offer renewable energy at the lowest cost, but biggest benefit to Canberra, rather than the usual auction process where the highest price is considered.
Auction bids were evaluated on their overall value for money by considering the feed-in tariff (FiT) price, risk, community engagement and local investment benefits.
What is a Feed-in Tariff (FiT)?
A feed-in tariff (FiT) is an agreed price for electricity fed back into the electricity grid.
The ACT’s large-scale generators are paid a FiT on a monthly basis by the ACT’s electricity distributor, Evoenergy (formerly ActewAGL Distribution), on a ‘contract for difference’ basis.
What is the benefit of the contract for difference approach?
The contract for difference approach means ActewAGL pays the electricity generator the difference between the generator’s agreed FiT price and the value of that electricity in the wholesale electricity market. If the market value is below the FiT price, the distributor will pay the generator a top-up amount. If the market price is higher than the FiT price, the distributor will be paid the difference and the savings are passed on to ACT consumers.
FiT prices are fixed for 20 years and not indexed to inflation, meaning that as wholesale electricity prices increase over time, the FiT payments will go down and savings go up. This provides known, predictable income for wind and solar farms giving them the security needed to make their multi-million investments.Find out how the payments are calculated.
How will the Government ensure the reliability of our electricity supply when we are 100% renewable by 2020?
The ACT is connected to the national energy grid which runs from Queensland, through the eastern states, to Tasmania and South Australia. As the location of the ACT’s renewable electricity supply needed to reach its 100% renewable electricity target is not critical to its emission reduction effect, it does not need to be generated in the ACT region and will be sourced from generators located across eastern and southern Australia.
This means the Territory won't have any concerns about future supply reliability because it will continue to be able to source electricity as part of the National Electricity Market.
All of the renewable electricity that the ACT will count towards the target is financially supported by the ACT’s electricity consumers. As wind is currently the lowest cost renewable electricity type, it will account for around 90% of the supply needed to reach the ACT’s 100%-by-2020 renewable electricity target, while solar and hydro power will make up the balance.
The 100% target is a ‘net’ target. Sometimes our fleet of generators will produce more than the ACT needs - sometimes less. Over the course of 2020, it's estimated this will net out to ensure the 100% target is met.
We recognise the need for energy storage as Australia transitions to high penetration renewable energy networks in the future. The ACT Government is supporting this through its Next Generation Energy Storage Grants program, which incentivises the deployment of energy storage technology throughout the Territory.
What will the cost of renewables be for Canberra households and businesses?
The ACT Government’s reverse auction feed-in tariff scheme showed, for the first time in Australia, that state and territory governments could work with industry to drive investment in renewable electricity while limiting costs to consumers and securing local investment benefits.
Renewable energy generation is immune to fossil fuel price hikes and is keeping downward pressure on wholesale electricity costs. Through our purchasing agreements with wind and solar projects across Australia, renewable energy generators receive a set price for the renewable electricity they produce over a 20 year period. This will help buffer us from price increases.
The ACT Government is confident that the cost of achieving 100% renewables will be in line with previous forecasts, peaking at less than $4.90 per household per week in 2020, and declining over time as wholesale market prices rise.
How can I find out more about pass-through costs?
ACT electricity distributors are obligated under the Electricity Feed-in (Large-scale Renewable Energy Generation) Act 2011 to provide the Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability with quarterly reports.
The quarterly reports include information on network connection, feed-in tariff costs and the estimated cost of earnings that flow back to Canberra’s electricity users as an offset against future energy prices.
Details are also provided in the annual Feed in Tariff Report, published each December on the Environment website.
For more information and to view the reports visit the Environment website.
What is the ACT Government doing to assist households and businesses to reduce energy consumption?
The ACT Government’s Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme (EEIS) is assisting households and businesses to reduce energy consumption, which flows through to lower electricity and natural gas bills helping to offset price rises. Since the EEIS started in 2013, more than 70,000 households and businesses have participated in the Scheme.
Activities currently being offered to households under the EEIS include upgrading an old ducted gas heater to a 6 star gas heater and decommissioning and disposing old refrigerators or freezers. More than 8,500 households participated in EEIS activities in 2016-17 financial year.
The EEIS is also offering commercial lighting upgrades to businesses. In the first half of 2017, 591 Canberra businesses participated in EEIS lighting upgrades. The installed items have the potential to save around $24.3 million over ten years.
The EEIS Administrator has recently approved a new activity to replace a gas wall heater with a high efficiency electric room heat pump and ActewAGL Retail is now delivering these split systems.
What programs are available for those on low incomes?
The ACT Government offers a number of programs and services that help low income households reduce their energy costs and save money on their energy bills.
- The Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme (EEIS) provides targeted assistance to low income households through a 20% Priority Household Target. More than 17,800 low income households have participated since 2013.
- ActewAGL offers EEIS-supported discounts to upgrade old, inefficient heating systems to high efficiency systems. Low income priority households can receive up to $4,000 off the purchase price of replacing their central ducted gas heater. The new activity to replace a gas wall heater with a high efficiency electric room heat pump also benefits low income households.
- ActewAGL also offers a Fridge Buyback scheme – offering eligible customers a $30 rebate on their next electricity bill. Did you know that running an old appliance adds an average of $200 a year to your power bill?
- The Actsmart Home Energy Efficiency Program provides helpful tips for low income households to reduce their energy and water consumption, improve the comfort of their home and save money. The program has supported over 9,000 households since 2010.
- Actsmart offers free public workshops to provide households, businesses and schools with simple tips and advice on reducing emissions and preparing for climate change. For a full list of current workshops visit the Actsmart website.
- The No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) is delivered through the ACT Government in partnerships with Care Financial Services and The Salvation Army. The Scheme offers subsidies for the purchase of energy efficient appliances for low income households.
- Eligible households in the ACT can apply for an annual rebate of up to $604 to assist with utility bills. For more information visit https://www.assistance.act.gov.au/adult/utilities/energy_concession
- The ActewAGL Energy Support Fund provides community groups with vouchers for distribution to vulnerable Canberrans to assist with paying their energy bills. For more information on the Energy Support Fund visit www.actewagl.com.au/Product-and-services/Prices/Prices-2017.aspx.
When will energy costs come down for consumers?
Through the ACT Government’s purchasing agreements with wind and solar projects across Australia, renewable energy generators receive a set price for the renewable electricity they produce over a 20-year period.
This means the ACT Government has locked in 20-year fixed price contracts as we move towards 100% renewable electricity. An independent review of our renewable energy reverse auction scheme by Jacobs Group (Australia) concluded electricity users in the ACT will be seeing net savings from our investments in renewables from around 2022.
For tips on how to reduce energy consumption in your home or business, resulting in lower electricity bills, free advice is available to all ACT residents and you can talk to an independent energy advisor by calling 1300 141 777 or you can email the Actsmart team at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about the Actsmart Household Program can also be found at the Actsmart website.
What programs are available for those interested in solar battery storage?
Canberra is home to one of the most ambitious battery storage programs in the world. Through the ACT Government’s Next Generation Energy Storage program, we will roll out battery storage to over 5,000 Canberra homes and businesses by 2020. Subsidised battery storage brings many benefits, including:
- control over when you use your stored energy
- reducing your energy bills by using your battery at peak times
- some battery storage systems provide backup power during an outage
If you are a household or business that is interested in installing a solar battery storage system, visit the Environment website for a list of grant winners that can be contacted directly.
When the sun doesn’t shine, and the wind doesn’t blow, how do we guarantee supply?
The ACT’s renewable electricity target is generated from a number of sources in NSW, Victoria and South Australia. The output from ACT supported renewable generators in these areas will replace the largely coal-fired electricity that the ACT would otherwise draw from the national electricity grid.
This means Canberra’s renewable electricity will be supplied on a secure basis. When the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining at our supported renewable generators in other parts of Australia, we will continue to draw electricity from other generators in the national electricity grid. However, the design of our target will ensure that, over the period of a year, 100 per cent of our net electricity demand is met by renewables by 2020.
The ACT also recognises the importance of energy storage in supporting a high penetration of renewables in the national grid, and so is investing heavily in a distributed $25 million energy storage rollout that will see up to 5,000 small-scale, smart batteries powered by rooftop solar generators installed across the Territory by 2020, as well as a large research program at the ANU on integrating energy storage into the electricity network.
How does the ACT Government’s investment in wind/solar help to keep the grid stable?
To help maintain reliability of supply and the stability of the electricity grid, the ACT Government is supporting the roll out of up to 5,000 battery storage systems across Canberra homes and businesses.
In total, the batteries will provide backup output of up to 36 megawatts. The ACT’s battery rollout is facilitated by a competitive grant program that supports local companies to install the systems.
There are a number of other initiatives that the ACT Government is engaged in, including research partnerships with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Australian National University (ANU) to bring world-leading energy storage and demand management technologies to the ACT.
How is the ACT Government supporting local start-ups to deliver innovative energy outcomes?
Smarter home energy systems, hydrogen fuel cells and solar radiation forecasting for large solar farms are just some of the business ideas that have received support under the ACT Government’s renewable energy innovation funding schemes.
The ACT Government’s Renewable Energy Innovation Fund (REIF) Direct Grants, and new ‘Renewables Stream’ of Innovation Connect, will provide financial support worth approximately $1.1 million and $100,000 respectively to local businesses and start-ups.
The Renewables Innovation Hub also provides opportunities and support for start-ups and organisations to access office spaces, workshops and mentoring.
How is the ACT engaging with other states/territories and internationally to deliver real climate outcomes?
The ACT is recognised as a leader in delivering real climate outcomes both nationally and internationally.
Through the COAG Energy Council (EC), the ACT Government is working with other states and territories on energy market reforms that will help decarbonise the national electricity market whilst improving energy security and affordability. Through the COAG EC, the ACT Government also contributes to the COAG National Energy Productivity Plan, which Commonwealth Government modelling shows has the potential to contribute 44% of the Commonwealth Government’s 26-28% greenhouse gas reduction 2030 target. This will contribute to Australia achieving its international Paris Climate Change Agreement commitments at lowest cost.
The ACT Government is a co-founder of the Climate Action Roundtable. The Climate Action Roundtable includes:
- ACT, South Australian, Victorian, and Queensland State Government Climate Change and Environment Ministers
- Mayors, CEOs or Aldermans from the City of Adelaide, Cairns Regional Council, City of Darwin, Douglas Shire Council, City of Hobart, City of Ipswich, and City of Sydney
- These members meet regularly to work together to share best practice knowledge to achieve the transition to net zero greenhouse gas emissions.
The ACT Government is a member of a number of national partnerships including the Cities Power Partnership.
The ACT Government’s investment in the Hornsdale wind farm will see the South Australian Government benefit from the installation of the worlds largest lithium ion battery by Tesla.
The ACT has signed a number of climate leadership declarations including the Climate Leadership Declaration, which calls on all jurisdictions to work in partnership towards net zero emissions.
In signing the ‘Under 2 MOU’ (Memorandum of Understanding), we joined 165 other leading cities and sub-national governments from 33 countries to work to avoid dangerous levels of global warming. Our partnership in the 2050 Pathway Platform will support other countries, governments and businesses work towards zero emissions by 2050.
The ACT Government also learns from and shares best practice knowledge through its membership of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy which includes 648 cities.
The ACT Government also contributes to sharing knowledge of best practice by reporting annually to the Carbon Disclosure Project on progress to achieve ACT’s world leading climate mitigation goals.
The ACT actively engages with other states/territories, delivering real climate outcomes. An example is the development of the NSW and ACT Regional Climate Model (NARCliM), which dynamically downscaled global climate models to a regional scale, providing the ACT with projected changes in our future climate.
To deliver key actions within the ACT’s Climate Change Adaptation Strategy we are working closely across all levels of government to engage with NSW state agencies and local government. This will increase regional collaboration and, by working across borders, we will improve awareness of climate change impacts to build resilience and adaptive capacity.
What is the ACT Government doing in its own operations?
The ACT Government is a national and international leader when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in government operations. All ACT Government agencies work together towards the common goal of cost effective net carbon neutrality in government operations by 2020 and beyond.
The ACT Government has a dedicated fund to help agencies invest in projects that reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Projects funded by the ACT Government support innovative and new technology to encourage implementation into the commercial sphere.
Progress towards carbon neutrality is underpinned by energy consumption and cost data relating to ACT Government Operations.