ACT News


ACT government puts off green energy increase until 2018-19

Show comment

Green energy purchases by the ACT government will remain at just 5 per cent of total power use until at least 2018-19, according to a new report.

According to the ACT government's Carbon Neutral ACT Framework, which was released by Environment Minister Simon Corbell on Wednesday, any additional GreenPower energy purchases over 5 per cent will be put on hold until 2018-19.

"Following the review of the framework in 2016, the government will determine the most appropriate level of GreenPower purchase for achieving carbon neutrality [for the ACT government] in 2020," they wrote.

In 2012-13, the government slashed green energy use from a mandatory 37.5 per cent to just 5 per cent, causing renewable energy use in government buildings to drop by 16 million kWh, or 83 per cent.

As a result, carbon emissions rose by 15 per cent in 2012-13, almost topping 100,000 tonnes in 12 months.

A spokesman for Mr Corbell said on Thursday the money the government had saved from purchasing less renewable energy had been used to pay for more energy efficiency measures in government offices, reducing energy use by an estimated 7699 MWh in 2013-14.


He also said the ACT was still on track for a 90 per cent renewable energy target by 2020, highlighting the ACT government only made up 5 per cent of total energy use in the territory.

It is still unknown how much of an effect the energy efficiency measures have had on ACT government greenhouse gas emissions.

In June, a spokesman for Mr Corbell said the savings from cutting green power would go into finding energy efficiency opportunities in the ACT government, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

"The government is of the opinion that this change of focus from purchasing offsets to energy efficiency savings represents better value for money from the allocated funding," he said.

The government's Carbon Neutral ACT Framework also said solar panels and solar hot water would be used to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

When launching the framework, Mr Corbell said the plan would involve tracking the energy performance of government buildings more closely.

"A couple of great examples are already underway at Dame Pattie Menzies House in Dickson, where the Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate is," he said. "They've achieved a 68 per cent reduction in the use of energy in their building.

"At Ainslie Fire Station, [there has been] a 30 per cent reduction in energy use through improvements to the heating and cooling systems and installation of a large set of solar panels."

In the report, the ACT government said it would monitor the energy performance of government buildings by reporting on their greenhouse gas emissions via the ACT Government Enterprise Sustainability Platform. This method makes energy use data available on a site-by-site basis.

It will also provide corporations with access to state money and have a carbon fund that allows departments to seek a loan for energy efficiency measures.

Mr Corbell said he was confident there would be a marked improvement over the next six years in energy reduction, saying in comparison with other states and territories, the ACT government was demonstrating a considerable degree of environmental awareness.

Speaking of other government approaches to the issue, Mr Corbell said: "You do see it in local government levels, but not as a whole … I think it's a really positive thing for the ACT and we are leading by example."

The director-general of the Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate, Dorte Ekelund, said the ACT was leading the way. "We're a community that really gets climate change is real and collectively we have an obligation to do something about it," he said.

1 comment