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Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
10 December 2002
Bob Brown’s appetite for a headline clearly outweighs his pretence of being serious about greenhouse issues and his claims that the Howard Government does not support renewable energy and renewable energy technologies fly in the face of the facts.
The Howard Government today announced funding exceeding $46 million for three Cooperative Research Centres that will aid in abatement of greenhouse gases, namely:
"This is a significant funding boost for three centres of excellence. Unfortunately, Bob Brown, for whom everything is never enough, has chosen to focus on a project that was not as competitive as those chosen," said Dr Kemp.
"The Howard Government has a world-leading record on renewable energy research and development."
"In its efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, the Howard Government has kick-started the renewable energy industry in this country and will continue to foster its development."
Renewable Energy Development: $377 million
The Howard Government has supported the commercialisation and deployment of renewable energy technologies and related industry development, and has legislated to create a world-first, guaranteed market for 9,500 GWh of new renewable electricity generation, through the Mandatory Renewable Energy target:
The Australian Greenhouse Office is implementing a program to increase the uptake of renewable energy technology in remote areas of Australia not serviced by a main electricity grid. Rebates are provided for up to 50% of the capital cost of converting diesel based electricity supplies to renewable energy technologies. Program funds are derived from excise paid on diesel used to generate electricity by public electricity generators.
To increase the use of photovoltaic technology in Australia, funding is available to enable householders and owners of community buildings, such as schools, to install photovoltaic systems. Cash rebates are available for grid-connected or stand-alone photovoltaic systems. The program should fund about 6,000 systems, each averaging around 1kW (peak), over the life of the program.
A five- year competitive grants program has fostered the development of the renewable energy industry in Australia. With two components, commercialisation and industry development, the program supports and promotes strategically important renewable energy technology initiatives that have strong commercial potential, and supports projects that will contribute to the development of a sustainable, internationally competitive renewable energy industry in Australia.
The Renewable Energy Equity Fund provides venture capital for small companies seeking to commercialise innovative renewable energy technologies. Funding is boosted to about $26.6 million by the required private sector capital. An independent private fund manager makes investments in accordance with set guidelines.
Renewable Energy Action Agenda
The Government, in partnership with the renewable energy industry, has launched a Renewable Energy Action Agenda. This Action Agenda provides a strategic policy framework for the development of a sustainable and competitive renewable energy industry in Australia, that aims for growth in annual industry sales to $4 billion, by 2010.
The Mandatory 9,500GWh Target
World-first legislation that guarantees enough new renewable electricity is generated over the next 10 years to supply the residential needs of a city of 4 million people came into force on 1 April 2001. By 2010, the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET) will have increased the contribution of renewable energy sources in Australia’s electricity mix by 9,500 GWh per annum. This initiative is being achieved by establishing an innovative market in renewable energy certificates, and is expected to deliver in excess of $2 billion of new investment in renewable energy in Australia.
"Bob Brown is clearly less interested in effective efforts to reduce greenhouse gases - which MUST include emissions reductions in the fossil fuel industry - than he is in peddling an ideologically pure line on renewables which will see far less real greenhouse gas abatement," said Dr Kemp.
Catherine Job (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400