As part of our commitment to addressing climate and building a sustainable Canberra, the ACT Greens will initiate a special 'pilot project' to ensure the new Molonglo Commercial Centre is developed as a cutting-edge, zero-emissions commercial centre.
The Molonglo Commercial Centre is Canberra's next big commercial centre development, intended to service the 60,000 people expected to live in the Molonglo Valley by the middle of the century. Development is expected to start from 2021-22 and will contain a supermarket and retail development. In future, community facilities and other commercial and mixed use development would be added.
Taking effective action on climate change means we must avoid developing new long-lived infrastructure that relies on fossil fuels, such as fossil-fuel-gas ('natural gas’). It is essential that the Government commits now to developing the Commercial Centre as a zero emissions project.
Leadership and cutting-edge climate change action
To address climate change and create a best-practice sustainable city, the ACT Government must phase out the use of fossil-fuel gas, and ensure new infrastructure is green and climate-wise.
This Australian-first, Zero Emissions Commercial Centre Project will ensure that all new buildings and facilities in the new Molonglo Commercial Centre run on 100% renewable electricity, setting a standard for future developments across the ACT and Australia, and ensuring the ACT strives to reach zero greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible. It will help cement the ACT’s position as a national leader on climate change and renewable energy initiatives and showcase the ACT as a knowledge hub for zero emissions solutions.
As part of the project, the Molonglo Commercial Centre would be developed with initiatives such as:
- All-electric, climate-wise buildings and facilities (ie no gas)
- Integrated solar energy on all commercial buildings
- Precinct level battery storage and community owned solar
- Electric vehicle charging, and technology to allow 'vehicle to grid' export from vehicle batteries
- 'Smart' building technology to maximise energy efficiency (eg automated heating, lighting)
Partnerships for leadership and success
Under the Greens' plan, the Molonglo Commercial Centre would be developed from day one as a special-status pilot project, with the aim of achieving zero emissions. The project will require coordination across a range of disciplines, including planning, building, grid infrastructure, storage, and would include consultation with commercial proponents and the community.
Developing an all-electric centre that contains large and varied development types - such as supermarkets and high density residential and commercial buildings - is a challenging and cutting-edge project. Just as the ACT has led the way building all-electric schools and committing to an all-electric hospital, we will take the next step and ensure the ACT's new commercial centre is all-electric.
To ensure the project succeeds, Government would partner with a range of organisations that can provide expert advice, and can take lessons from the pilot to future projects. These organisations could include ARENA, the Clean Energy Council, the ANU Energy Change Institute and in particular the Battery Storage and Grid Integration Program, the Green Building Council of Australia, EVO Energy, and the national electricity market bodies, such as AEMO.
Consultation would include discussions with major retailers about the opportunity to advance their own commitments to sustainability by locating in the Molonglo Commercial Centre. Many retailers have now developed sustainability plans and commitments that can be advanced through this project: eg. Woolworths, Coles, Aldi, the RE100 group.
Benefits for the environment and the community
The project will bring benefits to Canberrans through the adoption of zero emissions technologies, building innovation, and best practice sustainability. These benefits include lower energy bills for households and businesses; job and businesses opportunities in new technologies; and broader economic benefits through ACT leadership in research and sustainability.