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

13 March 2001

Major Boost for Renewable Energy in Outback

More than $15 million in Commonwealth funding is supporting two innovative renewable energy programs in outback Australia.

Announcing the move, the Ministerial Council on Greenhouse said it was the first step in funding a series of projects under the Commonwealth Government's Renewable Remote Power Generation Program.

The Indigenous Communities Support Project will receive $8 million to help expand the use of renewable energy in about 250 indigenous communities.

In the second project, the South Australian Office of Energy Policy will receive $7.6 million for rebates to replace diesel power with renewable energy technologies.

"Through these programs, remote communities will reduce their reliance on diesel fuel and move towards clean, renewable energy thereby cutting greenhouse gas emissions," Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill said.

"Access to 24-hour power for the things most of us take for granted like refrigeration, lighting and communications is vital to improving health, education and employment opportunities in remote communities."

The Indigenous Communities Support Project, managed by the Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Commission (ATSIC), will predominantly benefit communities in South Australia, Western Australian, Queensland and the Northern Territory. A leading feature of the project will be the creation of mobile service teams designed to assist communities with education, advice, repairs and maintenance of these remote renewable power systems.

The second project will see the South Australian Office of Energy and Policy meet half the cost of installing renewable energy in areas now using diesel generated power.

"With installations in areas that do not have access to the main grid, the South Australian program is estimated to save at least 15 million litres of diesel and at least 40,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions over the 20 year life of the renewable systems," Senator Hill added.

The Renewable Remote Power Generation Program is administered by the Australian Greenhouse Office and will provide up to $264 million in funding for conversion of diesel based electricity supplies to renewable energy technologies.

Tuesday, March 13, 2001
Contact: Belinda Huppatz 08 82377920 or 0419 258364

Commonwealth of Australia