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Monday, 14 September 2009
Page: 9494


Mr TUCKEY (9:12 PM) —This bill deals with the quota of renewable certificates available to renewable resource technologies and the inclusion of energy efficient transmission systems as eligible for renewable certificates. Schedule 1 is to ensure that the more mature renewable technologies, such as wind, will not crowd out from access to renewable energy certificates emerging renewable technologies which will have the potential to provide more reliable and cheaper renewable energy but will require the financial benefits of renewable certificates to attract private investment to develop their technology.

I would like to point out that just in this last week a particular company has gone into administration, having been offered $75 million of federal government moneys and $50 million of Victorian government moneys to build a solar facility near Mildura. The reason was that they were unable, at that level and without the support of renewable certificates in sufficient numbers, to attract private investment. The purpose of this bill is to limit any one renewable resource technology to 20,000 gigawatt hours in the ultimately available 45,000 gigawatt hour renewable target.

Schedule 2 of this amendment also recognises that energy saved in the transmission of power, as available in new technologies such as high-voltage DC current transmission, achieves the same purpose as renewable generation inasmuch as it requires fewer emissions from the generator to supply demand. There is a very interesting comparison of the efficiency of a variety of transmission technologies in delivering energy to the point where Australians wish to consume it, be it domestically or for business, and that is the Dampier-Bunbury pipeline, where the demand has grown exponentially in recent times and, as a result, the pressure in the pipeline has been increased for the purpose of delivering sufficient energy. That energy is now the same as one of the state’s Collie powerhouses—225 megawatts.

The emissions associated with pumping the gas that distance are about 700,000 tonnes. One might choose to compare that with the changeover from incandescent globes to fluorescent globes, where the national saving is estimated at 800,000 tonnes of emissions. In other words, instead of having a highly inefficient system of delivering energy to consumers in the south-west of WA via a gas pipeline, it is much more efficient to generate the electricity from that same gas in the Pilbara and deliver it to the consumer via what would be underground high-voltage DC transmission systems. The bill does not dictate that. It leaves it to the regulator to make a comparison where energy is transmitted from A to B—and, I might add, high-voltage DC power now crosses Bass Strait. The fact of life is that, if the regulator gives a rating to a particular transmission system where, as a consequence, more power gets to the other end, that would qualify, by government regulation, for the issue of certificates which are renewable energy rated.

It is a very important process. As the member for Mackellar just said, I sincerely hope the government looks very positively at this idea. There are a mass of emerging technologies that the member for Mackellar has mentioned which should not be crowded out, particularly by wind generation. In South Australia, the regulator has said: ‘Don’t have any more. This technology will fail on superhot days and you could be without any energy at all.’ (Time expired)

Bill read a first time.


The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon. DS Vale)—In accordance with standing order 41, the second reading will be made an order of the day for the next sitting.