Last month I announced that the ACT’s large-scale solar feed in tariff auction has reached its final stage with 22 proposals from 10 proponents shortlisted to bid for access to 40MW of renewable generation capacity.
The ACT Labor Governments large-scale solar reverse auction is attracting interest nationally and internationally. With a high quality and experienced field of renewable energy companies bidding this scheme will deliver the largest solar facilities built in Australia to date. Currently the largest installed PV solar plant in Australia is 1MW and the largest under construction is 10MW in Western Australia. In the first stage of this auction 20MW of solar generation will be supported, with another 20MW to be allocated early next year.
Reverse auctions like the ACT scheme have proven effective internationally in delivering the certainty needed to encourage investment in large-scale solar. Unlike the feed in tariffs used for residential solar installation, the large-scale FIT is determined by a reverse auction, where the Government accepts the lowest and most credible price for a feed in tariff and it is only paid for as long as the price of the renewable energy sold is higher than the wholesale price of electricity. With the cost of renewable energy rapidly falling, particularly PV solar, Labor’s large-scale solar scheme means price support for renewable energy will only operate for as long as renewable energy is more expensive than fossil fuel sources, which is likely to be less than 20 years from today.
We have now reached the final stage of the fast track stream for the large-scale solar auction, with fast track bidders now having lodged their price bids for feed in tariff support. I will soon receive advice from the expert panel appointed to review the bids and advise the government on who the successful bid or bidders shall be. With an announcement expected in August this year, ACT Labor will have delivered on its commitment to make Canberra Australia’s Solar Capital.