Australian Capital Territory ends 250MW first phase of renewables-and-storage reverse auctions

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Canberra. Source: Flickr, Greg Schechter

The Australian Capital Territory government has announced the final step of the first phase of its ‘reverse auction’ programme, with the announcement of a tender for 250MW of renewable energy generation alongside a 20MW/40MWh battery energy storage system (BESS).

Shane Rattenbury, state minister for climate change and sustainability, said that he would be announcing the next major phase of climate action in the ACT “in days to come.”

The soon-to-be-unveiled strategy “will outline how we move to renewable energy solutions and what will drive the decarbonisation of the region up to 2025 and beyond,” he added. 

Despite only holding two seats in the ACT’s 25-seat legislature, the ACT Greens hold the balance of power and therefore have significant leverage over policy. They have a parliamentary agreement with Labor, and Rattenbury is an ACT Green politician.

In 2016, the state government set a target of 100% of renewable energy by 2020, using reverse auctions to provide new electricity generation for the ACT, at plants either within ACT or elsewhere across the national electricity market.

Rattenbury said that while the target would be reached “soon” the latest auction will allow the state to cater to expected spikes in electricity consumption in the future. “Our city will keep growing, and we’ll be transitioning buildings and vehicles to be all electric. This is expected to increase electricity consumption, so we’re contracting more renewable electricity generation to ensure we stay at 100%,” he said.

According to the ACT Greens, the reverse auction scheme has leveraged more than A $500 million in the ACT and $2 billion of investment around Australia, via 10 large-scale renewable energy projects.

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