ACT Enviro Minister Simon Corbell receives Banksia Sustainability Award for large-scale solar feed-in tariff program

The ACT government’s game-changing solar auction scheme has taken out top prize in this year’s Banksia Sustainability Awards, making it the overall winner of one of Australia’s most important environmental award ceremonies.

The Banksia Foundation presented the Capital Territory’s environment minister, Simon Corbell, with the 2014 Gold Award in recognition of the scheme’s huge success in stimulating large-scale solar investment at the lowest possible cost.

As has been noted before on RenewEconomy, the ACT has long been the shining light of Australian large-scale solar – and indeed all renewables – due to its innovative incentive schemes and and forward-thinking policy, against a backdrop of federal and state policies either being wound back or stuck in limbo.

In late August it officially opened the 20MW Royalla solar farm – the largest in Australia and the first in the National Electricity Market – and has another 20MW of solar farms about to be built.

The Capital also has plans for an auction for 50MW of advanced solar projects, which essentially means projects that include storage.

Unsurprisingly, the hugely successful solar auction scheme – the first round of bidding attracted 10 proposals; the second round 15 – also won the Local Government Sustainability category of the Banksia Awards, in which it was first entered.

“(To) be announced as the overall winner of the 2014 Gold Award was beyond our expectations,” said ACT environment minister Simon Corbell.

“It is national recognition of the renewable energy policies of the ACT Government, and is testament to the expertise and hard work of the team in the Environment and Planning Directorate.”

© 2014 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Giles Parkinson