The ACT government is aiming to have 90 per cent of the Territory’s electricity come from renewable sources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2020 and has committed to reducing net emissions to zero by the year 2060.
The goals were set out in Weathering the Change – ACT Climate Change Strategy 2007-2025, a paper detailing 18 actions to be undertaken, with a strong focus on renewables.
Australia’s largest photovoltaic (PV) solar farm, which is to be built in Canberra by Spanish renewable energy company Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV), will have a significant impact on the ACT’s ability to meet that goal.
The 20 megawatt facility, which will be built on a 50-hectare site 23 kilometres south of the CBD, will consist of 83,000 PV panels and produce enough renewable electricity to power 4,500 Canberra homes.
Construction of the solar farm is planned for next year, with completion in 2014.
The project is expected to deliver significant benefits to the local economy, creating numerous jobs during construction and when the facility commences operation.
FRV Australia manager Andrea Fontana noted that “FRV brings a high level of unique know how and expertise to the Australian market with a proven global track record of developing, constructing and delivering large scale solar power projects.”
This is just one of several renewable projects planned between now and 2020 with over one gigawatt of wind power projects currently in the assessment phase.
The government has acknowledged, however, that work still needs to be done from a communications perspective, with a distinct lack of publicly accessible information on the ability of the Territory’s electricity distribution network to cope with additional generation capacity. To address this issue, there are plans to develop detailed mapping of these renewable resources.
The government is confident it will receive support, with the Territory already boasting a high uptake of home solar panel systems supported by a feed-in tariff incentive that pays owners the same rate as their electricity supply tariff for surplus power exported to the main grid.
By Justin McGar