Australian Capital Territory’s Reverse Auctions and Its 100%-by-2020 Renewable Electricity Target (Webinar)

8 October 2018

The Clean Energy Solutions Center, in partnership with Australian Capital Territory Government (ACT), hosted this webinar on the policy context of the ACT's reverse auctions, their design, their evaluation processes, and their outcomes as well as local investment benefits that have flowed from them. The webinar presented a case-study of the design and implementation of a feed-in tariff reverse auction program that will take a territory in Australia from 14 per cent renewable electricity supply in 2011 to 100 per cent supply in 2020.

In the past, feed-in tariffs were determined by governments, but they are increasingly being determined by market driven reverse auctions. The number of countries using feed-in tariff reverse auctions has increased from 6 in 2005 to at least 67 in 2016. The ACT, where Australia's capital, Canberra, is located, was the first state or territory in Australia to use reverse auctions. Between 2012 and 2016, the ACT Government conducted five reverse auctions that allocated 640 megawatts of feed-in tariff supporting large-scale wind or solar generation capacity. The renewable electricity generated by the wind and solar capacity contributes most of the renewable output that is needed for the ACT to reach its ambitious target of having 100 per cent renewable electricity supplied by 2020. And, the target will supply nearly all the emission reduction needed for the ACT to reach its nation-leading target of reducing its 1990 level greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2020.

The ACT’s auctions were very successful in securing some of the lowest-cost wind electricity support in Australia at the time they were undertaken. The auctions have also delivered over $500 million in local economic benefits because of three new national and international businesses moving their headquarters to the ACT. And, the auctions have leveraged investment into local trades training, new tertiary research and education opportunities, a solar battery storage subsidy package and a hydrogen energy trial.

The use of reverse auctions was subsequently taken up by two state governments as well as by Australia's national government. The cutting-edge innovation of the ACT's auctions has been recognized by awards from a major environmental NGO and the Australian Institute for Public Administration.

The webinar speaker was Greg Buckman, Senior Policy Officer, Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate, ACT. His presentation was followed by an interactive question and answer session with the audience.

The webinar was hosted by the Clean Energy Solutions Center’s recently established Asia-Pacific node in Canberra, Australia. The node is supported by the Commonwealth Department of Environment and Energy in collaboration with the ACT Government Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (United States). The node extends the Solutions Center’s services to the Asia-Pacific Region.