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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

8 December 2000

New Laws to Create Billions of Dollars In Investment

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has welcomed historic new renewable energy legislation passed by Parliament early today which will generate billions of dollars in new investment.

"The Government's Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act is landmark legislation which will ensure a national market for up to 9,500 giga watt hours of extra renewable electricity per year - enough residential electricity to power a city the size of Sydney each year," Senator Hill said.

"This bill will ensure an extra two per cent of this country's electricity is produced from renewable sources by 2010. We already have 10.7 per cent of electricity generated in Australia coming from renewable sources.

"Not only will this create more than $2 billion worth of investment in the Australian Renewable Energy Industry but it will also ensure Australia continues to work towards its commitment to reducing greenhouse emissions in this country."

"The measure has the potential to reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by up to seven million tonnes between now and 2010."

Under the new legislation, electricity retailers and wholesale suppliers will have to meet incremental requirements in energy purchases from renewable sources from April 1. For example, in the first year liable companies will be required to purchase an extra 300 giga watt hours of electricity from renewable sources and in the following year, an extra 1100 giga watt hours.

Senator Hill said the Commonwealth was committed to developing a strong sustainable energy industry and had already made almost $400 million available for supporting the introduction of renewable energy technology through the Australian Greenhouse Office.

"So far, 41 innovative commercial projects have been awarded grants totalling almost $33 million. This new legislation will create a massive new market for renewable energy technology," Senator Hill said.

The legislation defines eligible sources of renewable energy and confines the use of wood products to "waste wood".

December 8, 2000
Contact: Belinda Huppatz (Senator Hill's office) 08 82377920 or 0419 258364.

Commonwealth of Australia