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Australia leads the way again on renewable energy

Media Statement

For immediate release 8 July 2008

Australia leads the way again with smart thinking on renewable energy

An Australian state has given renewable energy a huge push with a new law designed to make investment in small scale renewables very attractive for the average household and business.

“I congratulate the Parliament of the Australian Capital Territory for its break through move in allowing those who generate electricity through solar photovoltaic and wind power to be fairly paid for the renewable electricity they generate,” said Sustainable Electricity Association New Zealand chair Brendan Winitana.

Under a new law passed last week households and businesses in the Australian Capital Territory which generate their own power will be able to sell power back to their retailer for nearly four times the price of electricity. Retailers will be required to buy the electricity at that price with the cost passed on to all other consumers.

“This is the kind of leadership New Zealand should be showing on this issue given how perilous our winter power supplies are. Lake levels are still only around 60% of the average for this time of year and remain very close to 1992 power crisis levels.

“The explanatory note to the Bill makes for a very compelling argument.”

‘Feed-in tariffs, which are currently in operation in over 40 countries and provinces around the world, are proven to be the single most effective incentive to reduce the economic barrier and encourage the uptake of renewable energy generation. This Bill is designed to provide a framework that enables a capital investment into renewable electricity generation to be recouped within a 10 year period.’

The Bill can be found at; http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/b/db_32174/default.asp

“This is a bold move and the right one for these times when we need more renewable energy, especially energy which is better for our environment,” said Mr Winitana.

“While the cost of small scale renewables is coming down, the long repayment periods for these investments have been a barrier. I have no doubt that these sorts of incentives will greatly accelerate the uptake of this technology.”

Key features of the Australian Capital Territory Electricity Feed-in Tariff Bill:

• Payment will be 3.88 times the tariff - approx 60ckWh

• Both business and the residential sectors can benefit

• Payment is made for all renewable electricity generated (gross), not just the difference between energy generated and energy consumed

• The premium tariff will be paid to the household or business which generates the power for 20 years

“The twenty year tariff payable to the generator whether it’s a household or business provides the right environment for small scale renewables to flourish. It gives households and businesses the confidence they need to make the investment.

“If Australia can do it, there is no reason why New Zealand can’t embrace such incentives as well,” said Mr Winitana.



Small scale renewable electricity or distributed generation refers to compact technologies that generate electricity within or close to the domestic or commercial property where it is used or a commercial installation servicing a community through local lines.

• Photovoltaic solar power – special solar cells convert the sun’s energy directly into electricity.

• Small scale wind power – small turbines convert wind energy directly into electricity.

• Small scale hydro power – compact micro and mini hydro units convert the potential energy of water into electricity.

SEANZ members include:

Meridian Energy, Vector, Mighty River Power, Contact Energy, Sharp Corporation of NZ, Black Diamond Technology (BDT), Tyco Electronics, Industrial Research Ltd (IRL), Electricity Supply Industry Training Organisation (ESITO), University of Otago


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