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

28 March 2001

Commonwealth provides $26 million boost to cogeneration industry

Two new projects expected to reduce greenhouse emissions by more than three million tonnes over fives years have won $26 million in support from the Commonwealth Government's Greenhouse Gas Abatement Program.

Speaking today at the Eco Generation Conference in Melbourne, Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill announced energy generator and supplier Origin Energy Power Limited would receive up to $16 million.

Further cogeneration projects from the Australian Ecogeneration Association would receive up to $10 million.

"Both projects will make a significant contribution to Australia's efforts to meet the challenge of global climate change. Utilising cogeneration significantly improves the efficiency of conventional power generation, as excess heat produced in electricity generation is recovered for use in manufacturing processes," Senator Hill said.

Cogeneration is created when a power station uses fuel such as gas, coal or waste vegetation to make electricity and the process produces heat as a byproduct.

Rather than the heat being lost, it is instead utilised in nearby or associated industrial processes such as paper production, timber processing or alumina refining.

"These projects will help reduce greenhouse emissions from electricity generation, which account for almost one-third of all Australia's greenhouse emissions. At the same time they will help to meet the growing demand for energy and lead to more efficient use of our natural resources. "

Origin Energy Power Limited will develop and manage a portfolio of cogeneration plants across Australia. The project promises to result in greenhouse emission savings of about 2 million tonnes over the years 2008-2012, equivalent to taking 96,000 cars off the road each year.

The Australian EcoGeneration Association will encourage up to 12 energy services companies to establish several cogeneration projects throughout Australia. These projects are expected to reduce Australia's greenhouse emissions by more than 1.25 million tonnes over five years, equivalent to taking an additional 60,000 cars off the road each year.

Senator Hill said these plants would use natural gas instead of more greenhouse intensive coal to generate electricity.

"In addition to reducing greenhouse emissions, this fuel switching has other environmental benefits, such as reducing air pollution," he said.

"These projects are the first to be supported under Round 1 of the $400 million Greenhouse Gas Abatement Program."

The Program, commenced last July, and in the first round received 107 submissions from business, local government, industry and community organisations across Australia.

"All projects were subjected to a rigorous selection process where the key criteria were large-scale, cost-effective and sustained abatement of greenhouse emissions, particularly in the Kyoto commitment period between 2008 and 2012.

"The Greenhouse Gas Abatement Program is demonstrating that greenhouse gas abatement can be achieved at a low cost while generating innovation, wealth and new jobs," Senator Hill said.

Wednesday, March 28

Media contact: Belinda Huppatz 02 6277 7640 or 0419 258 364

Commonwealth of Australia