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Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill says Western Australia is emerging as a leading exporter in renewable energy technology, assisted by the Howard Government's $1 billion investment in greenhouse gas reduction programs.
Speaking in Perth prior to opening an international meeting of environment ministers to discuss carbon sinks, Senator Hill said Australia's innovative greenhouse program was increasingly recognised as a world-leader.
"Today I have invited our overseas guests to inspect the world's best solar hot water systems, designed, developed and built here in Perth with support from the Commonwealth's Renewable Energy Commercialisation Program.
"In Western Australia alone we've invested more than $5 million over the past two years to promote leading-edge renewable energy technology, increasing the uptake of renewable energy, and improving energy efficiency in Australian industry.
"This is further evidence of the Howard Government's innovative and balanced approach in meeting our greenhouse gas reduction target. We're working with business, industry and the community towards reducing greenhouse emissions. We're also proud to be promoting international discussion on the use of carbon sinks as a legitimate way of offsetting carbon emissions."
Senator Hill said the Solahart hot water system on display at the Perth meeting was one of many successful export developments supported by the Government's Renewable Energy Commercialisation Program.
"A Renewable Energy Industry Program grant less than two years ago gave Solahart the funds to commercially produce a completely sealed solar collector; a world first, which was recently released to the international market.
"Solahart will now receive a further grant of up to $350,000 commercialise a high-performance pumped solar hot water system developed for all climate and geographic conditions.
"As well as distributing these new systems throughout Australia from its factory in Welshpool, Solahart will be exporting them to 70 countries worldwide," Minister Hill said.
In the latest round of renewable energy grants to WA companies, Solco Industries has been granted $1 million to launch its Sunsaver 300 litre and 200 litre low cost solar hot water systems in the Australasian markets.
"The Solco unit's clever Australian design beats the initial high purchase cost and the high maintenance problems with conventional solar hot water systems," Senator Hill said.
Rod Bruem (Senator Hill's office) 02 6277 7640 or 0419 258 364
Carol Bartley (Australian Greenhouse Office) 02 6274 1859 or 0412 994 800
A total of $5,375,000 in renewable energy grant funds have been committed to projects in WA in less than two years between April 1998 and February 2000.
Renewable Energy Industry Program grants were announced in April 1998
Now part of the RECP, REIP grants funds were committed to two WA projects. Solahart received a $200,000 grant for a solar hot water project and $300,000 was committed to Western Power, Solahart and ANUTECH for a 20kWatt photovoltaic trough concentrator project.
The PV/trough project uses a tracking system combined with a solar trough which concentrates the sun's energy to generate electricity directly to the grid. The PV/trough concentrator system is in the final stages of installation at the Rockingham Campus of Murdoch University.
Renewable Energy Showcase grants were announced in December 1998
Western Power Corporation and Powercorp Pty Ltd received $1 million for a project to incorporate a smart computer system and flywheel storage into an existing wind farm at Denham, near Shark Bay, WA. Powercorp (a Darwin-based technology company) designed and built the smart computer gear necessary to achieve the integration with Western Power's existing power system, for which Western Power have installed an additional two wind turbines.
RECP Round 1 grants were announced in April 1999
A $1 million grant will allow Western Power Corporation and its partners to build an Integrated Wood Processing demonstration plant at Narrogin producing 1MW of renewable energy into the main electricity grid in the south west of Western Australia. Harvesting locally grown mallee, the plant will generate electricity while producing eucalyptus oil and converting wood to activated carbon through a process developed by the CSIRO. The project involves collaboration between Western Power Corporation, the Oil Mallee Company, CALM, and Enecon Pty Ltd. (Note: project requires an additional $740,000, which is actively being sought, before project can commence.)
Derby Hydro Power has been offered a $1 million grant towards the construction of a 48 MW tidal power station near Derby to supply electricity to Derby, Broome, Fitzroy Crossing and the Western Metals lead and zinc mine at Pilbara. The project will take advantage of the flow from a high tidal range around 10 metres. It will provide continuous electricity output from the flow of water between the high and low basins which the barrages maintain in two adjacent creeks. (Note: This project is still under consideration at an intergovernmental level.)
RECP Round 3 grants were announced in February 2000
SunSaver Solar Hot Water System National Release. A grant of $1,000,000 has been offered to Solco Industries Pty Ltd to launch its Sunsaver 300 litre and 200 litre low cost solar hot water systems in the Australasian market. The uniquely designed and patented one piece moulded storage tank and solar collector has been specifically developed to overcome the initial high purchase cost and high maintenance requirements of conventional solar hot water systems. The hot water systems are expected to market at around $1000, plus freight (using the Freight Equalisation Scheme to have the same cost freight ($10 - $15) throughout Australia) and installation costs.
Commercialisation of the Solahart Pumped Solar Water Heater EP365. A grant of up to $350,000 has been offered to Solahart Industries Pty Limited for the commercialisation of the Solahart designed EP365, a high quality, high performance pumped solar hot water system suitable for all climate and geographic conditions. Manufactured in Welshpool, Western Australia, the EP365 will be distributed through Solahart dealership networks in Australia and seventy countries worldwide. This grant will also allow Solahart to develop a complete dealer and service training package which will provide further support for the product in the market place.
Exmouth Advanced Mini Wind farm. Western Power Corporation and Westwind Turbines of Perth, WA have been offered a grant of $225,000 for the installation of three Australian designed and developed Westwind 20/25kW wind turbines at Exmouth, adjacent to Western Power's distribution network. This project provides the opportunity to evaluate the use of medium size, tow-up, variable speed and gearbox free wind turbines to displace diesel consumption associated with inland remote diesel grids. The mini-wind farm is expected to generate 200MWh of electricity per annum and displace the equivalent of 150 tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum.