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Joint Media Release

Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator Robert Hill
Attorney General and Member for Tangney
The Hon. Daryl Williams

3 August 2001


The Commonwealth Government today awarded over $800,000 in grants to two innovative Western Australian renewable energy projects.

Announcing the grants today, Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Robert Hill said the projects are indicative of the innovative technology being developed in Western Australia and the high level of Federal Government support for clean renewable energy.

"The projects are expected to provide a major boost to the renewable energy industry by providing new technologies and expertise," Senator Hill said.

The Australian Cooperative Research Centre for Renewable Energy (ACRE) has been offered $491,000 to expand its national test facility located at Murdoch University in Perth. The laboratory will be used by manufacturers of solar and wind energy technologies to have the performance of their products tested for compliance with Australian and international standards.

"The upgraded laboratory will be an independently accredited state-of-the-art test facility for renewable energy systems," Senator Hill said.

The grant will also enable ACRE to buy a solar simulator for the lab. This will allow systems to be tested under a range of simulated sunlight conditions with a variety of virtual solar arrays. ACRE will also be able to test invertors, fuel cell technologies and battery storage systems at the laboratory.

Meanwhile, $350 000 has been offered to Solahart industries to commercialise a new type of solar hot water heater technology. What makes this technology unique is that it has been designed specifically for use in cold climates of 10 degrees Celsius or less. Already there is significant interest in the product from European countries, including Austria and Germany and export sales are expected to reach 7400 units within the next three years.

Welcoming the grants, Member for Tangney, Daryl Williams said Western Australia had always been a major player in Australia's renewable energy industry.

"These projects are an excellent example of innovation at its best and will further enhance WA's reputation as a leading renewable energy supplier and generator. Testing facilities at ACRELab will be vital in supporting the continuing rapid development of the Australian industry," Mr Williams said.

The projects have been funded under round five of the Commonwealth's Renewable Energy Commercialisation Program (RECP). The $55 million RECP grants program fosters the growth of Australia's renewable energy industry. The RECP grants are run through the Australian Greenhouse Office, the Commonwealth's lead agency on greenhouse matters. They are part of a comprehensive $380 million Federal Government package aimed at increasing the uptake of renewable energy.

Friday, 3 August 2001

Belinda Huppatz (Senator Hill's Office) 0419 258 364

Commonwealth of Australia