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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 October 2000

Sun technology wins million-dollar grants from Commonwealth

One of South Australia's most remote Aboriginal communities will receive $1 million in Commonwealth funding to install state-of-the-art solar technology.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill today announced the Pitjantjatjara Council and the South Australian department of Aboriginal Affairs would receive the funds to install 10 solar dishes in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Lands in the Far North West of South Australia.

Senator Hill also announced a second $1 million grant for an innovative project to install 42 Australian-designed and built solar tracking dishes at a 20ha solar farm in Broken Hill.

The two projects received the funding in the fourth round of the Commonwealth's Renewable Energy Commercialisation Program (RECP).

"This new, clean energy will reduce the Anangu Pitjantjatjara community's reliance on diesel fuel for power and also reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions," Senator Hill said.

``By using solar energy it is estimated the community will reduce its consumption of diesel by 136,000 litres each year."

Senator Hill said the Anangu Pitjantjatjara sun farm would feed directly into the local mini-grid and produce enough power to meet 20 per cent of the area's electricity needs.

"The Anangu Pitjantjatjara people are the first indigenous community to embrace this innovative technology," he said.

The community is also planning to explore using the heat generated by the solar dishes to purify underground water and provide a cheap and reliable source of drinking water.

The Broken Hill solar farm is to be built by Australian Inland Energy and Solar Systems Pty Ltd in a joint project and will provide 80 jobs in the construction phase.

"Diesel generators are the only source of electricity in many remote areas of Australia,'' Senator Hill said.

"These projects are helping remote communities move away from their reliance on diesel generators and to move towards clean, renewable energy which reduces greenhouse emissions."

"Renewable energy is a key component of the Commonwealth's climate change policy and the latest round of projects will save about 400,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year," Senator Hill said.

The $55 million RECP grants program fosters the growth of Australia's renewable energy industry, reducing Australia's greenhouse gas levels.

So far almost 40 projects have been offered funding under the program.

The RECP grants are operated through the Australian Greenhouse Office, the Commonwealth's lead agency on greenhouse matters.

Sunday, 8 October 2000

Belinda Huppatz (Senator Hill's Office) 0419 258 364
Carol Bartley (Australian Greenhouse Office) 0412 994 800

Attachment - South Australian Sun Farm

Commonwealth of Australia