We had a great turn-out for our Community Renewable Energy Forum with the Legislative Assembly reception room packed out! Members of the community met with their elected representatives and local industry representatives on Thursday to talk all things renewable.
To kick off proceedings Mark Spain, the Vice-Chair of SEE-Change, welcomed everyone and gave a brief introduction to the forum, including a recognition of the traditional owners of the land on which we were meeting. Anne Clarke, the Executive Officer of SEE-Change, then read a statement that had been provided by the office of Zed Seselja MLA for the forum. This was then followed by a presentation from Simon Corbell MLA, Shane Rattenbury MLA and Justin Ryan (Director of Armada Solar). All of the speakers were highly knowledgable and engaged well with the audience.
The statement from Zed Seselja’s office primarily focused on the wider history of environmental ‘firsts’ from the ACT Liberals, however didn’t provide any insights regarding the history of renewable energy or how it would influence Canberra’s future.
Minister Corbell highlighted the overall success of the micro and medium Electricity Feed-In Tariff Scheme, which has brought over 26MW of renewable energy generation capacity online in the ACT. Mr Corbell also explained that winners of the Large-scale Solar Reverse Auction would soon be released and the solar installations resulting from that process would take the ACT’s renewable generating capacity to over 240MWs. The Minister also expressed his disappointment that the Opposition leader, Zed Seselja, had not attended the Community Forum.
Mr Rattenbury then spoke of the rapid cost decreases in recent years, of solar and wind technologies and how this will pave the way for the ACT to achieve a high level of renewable energy and achieve the status of the Solar Capital. He spoke of the success of the Feed-in Tariffs introduced by the ACT Assembly and the ACT Greens plans to further support the deployment of local renewable energy into the future.
Justin Ryan gave attendees a unique insight into the local and international solar industry, stressing that the national industry was now being dominated by movement in the international market. Mr Ryan stressed that photovoltaic prices in particular were being driven by mass-production in China, and that multiple manufactures based in that area were currently undergoing a war of attrition.
The attention then shifted to the audience and a number of engaging questions were put to the presenters. It was great to see the community support for renewables and see how many Canberrans are thinking about how renewables can rapidly move us toward a low-carbon economy.
Our thanks to Mr Corbell, Mr Rattenbury and Mr Ryan for their time and insights and to everyone who attended to show their interest in, and support for, renewable energy!