MINISTER FOR INFRASTRUCTURE AND TRANSPORT
Question No. 359
Senator Ludlam asked the Minister representing the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, upon notice, on 13 December 2010:
With reference to Infrastructure Australia and its June 2010 report to the Council of Australian Governments, Getting the fundamentals right for Australia's infrastructure priorities (the report):
(1) Has Infrastructure Australia commenced its monitoring of the effectiveness of the renewable energy certificate scheme (the scheme) in encouraging investment for renewable energy generation as set out on p. 29 of the report; if so, can an update be provided by Infrastructure Australia on any pertinent information the monitoring has revealed, including whether the scheme is effectively working to generate private sector investment.
(2) Has Infrastructure Australia commenced its monitoring of the changes to the regulatory arrangements for transmission investment to connect up renewable energy to the grid, as set out on p. 29 of the report; if so, can an update be provided by Infrastructure Australia on any information the monitoring has revealed, including whether the new transmission regulations are effectively working to generate private sector investment.
(3) How did the responsibility arise to monitor these changes, for example, was it self imposed or referred by the Minister.
(4) Will the Minister or Infrastructure Australia consider undertaking an examination of where the potential renewable energy resources are in Australia and creating renewable energy development zones to plan connection with existing electricity grids.
Senator Carr - The Minister for Infrastructure and Transport has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:
(1) Infrastructure Australia is continuing to monitor the progress of the proposed changes to the renewable energy certificate scheme and the market's response. Current status of the proposed changes is as follows:
The Government announced in February 2010 that as from 1 January 2011, the renewable energy target scheme would provide for two categories of renewable energy certificates - for small-scale and large-scale generation. Legislation to give effect to this was passed by the Commonwealth Parliament on 24 June 2010.
The Australia Energy Market Operator reported in May 2010 that 72 wind farms with a capacity of 9,655MW across the National Energy Market had been publicly announced and that 9 of those were in advanced stages of delivery.
Infrastructure Australia understands that the proposed changes to the scheme are generally viewed positively by the renewable energy generation market.
(2) Infrastructure Australia is continuing to monitor progress with the proposed changes to the Australian Energy Rules that would give effect to the Scale Efficient Network Extension (SENE) proposal. Current status of that rule change is as follows:
On 19 August 2010, the Australian Energy Market Commission published a notice to extend the publication date of the draft Rule determination to 17 February 2011 and the publication date of the final Rule determination to 12 May 2011. The Commission considered that the proposed Rule raises issues of sufficient complexity and difficulty such that an extension of time is necessary. The extension also reflects the Commission's decision to undertake an additional consultation step for this Rule change by publishing an Options Paper. The Options Paper sought comments on five options for the rule change.
The Australian Energy Market Commission is currently drafting a rule determination.
Infrastructure Australia understands that the proposed rule change is generally viewed positively by the renewable energy generation market.
(3) Infrastructure Australia has responsibility under the Infrastructure Australia Act to identify any impediments to investment in nationally significant infrastructure and identify strategies to remove any impediments identified.
(4) Infrastructure Australia is not proposing to duplicate the role of the Australian Energy Market Operator in identifying the most promising potential renewable energy resources for development and connection to the grid. The 2010 Electricity Statement of Opportunities and the 2010 National Transmission Development Plan outline the most promising regions for development of renewable energy generation and the potential implications for the transmission grid.