Australia’s Capital Territory of Canberra has announced that it seeks to become 100% powered by renewable energy by 2025 (electricity only).
The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Labor Government announced to the ACT Labor Conference on Saturday that it intends to build on its current plans to become 90% reliant upon renewable electricity by 2020, by pushing for 100% reliance by 2025.
“We can do this,” said Andrew Barr, Chief Minister of the ACT. “We have shown it’s possible – now we have one small step left. 100 percent renewable energy will drive further jobs growth in our research and corporate sectors.”
Barr also noted that such a goal will have a dramatically positive impact on employment in the region as well. “We’ve already seen a 400 percent increase in renewable energy jobs in the past five years, and there will be more to come,” he said.
Also commenting on the move was Environment Minister and Deputy Chief Minister Simon Corbell, who said that the new 100% renewable electricity goal will mean “more jobs and more investment in the ACT economy.”
The move will also “see further reductions in [Canberra’s] greenhouse gas emissions,” Corbell continued. “Most importantly it will see growth in the low-carbon economy, which means jobs and investment in our city, in our universities and in our research sectors. This is about seizing economic opportunity and recognising the enormous global market in renewables and wanting to attract some of that investment and some of that jobs growth to our city.”
Unsurprisingly, the move was immediately criticized by the Liberal Opposition leader, Jeremy Hanson, who said that such a target would send power bills sky-rocketing.
“Well we’re very supportive of renewable energy but the problem is if you go to 100 per cent the cost of that is enormous, what we’re going to see is power bills going up through the roof across Canberra,” he said. “So already we’ve seen rates tripling and what Andrew Barr is now going to do is make everybody’s power bill unaffordable.”
Whether or not Mr Hanson’s figures are correct is a matter that will surely be contested hotly in the days and weeks to come, especially in the lead up to the next ACT election in 2016.
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.