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Joint Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
&
The Hon Ian Macfarlane, MP
Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources

9 April 2003

A Bright Future for Renewable Energy Projects


Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, and Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources, Ian Macfarlane said today that the Howard Government is continuing its commitment to a strong renewable energy industry in Australia with a further allocation of over $11 million in funding for 4 new renewable energy projects.

The new funding comprises:

'The delivery of competitively priced and secure energy sources is a Howard Government priority. Commercialisation of new and innovative technologies, such as sustainable energy, is a major challenge for both industry and Government,' Mr Macfarlane said.

The Howard Government today also released a new booklet Renewable Energy Commercialisation in Australia* that showcases Australia's world-class renewable energy capabilities.

'Australia is a world leader in the field of renewable energy and this booklet features 53 innovative projects from around Australia that demonstrate home-grown Australian renewable energy technologies,' Dr Kemp said.

'Australia is leading the way by undertaking a practical approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, with the Howard Government investing almost $1 billion in greenhouse gas abatement programs.

'These national programs will deliver about 60 million tonnes annually in emissions reductions by the end of this decade. They will build on the Government's support for innovation in areas such as renewable energy and alternative fuels.'

Australia is well positioned to meet the target agreed to at Kyoto of limiting greenhouse emissions to 108% of 1990 levels over the period 2008.

* The Renewable Energy Commercialisation in Australia book is available at www.greenhouse.gov.au/nav/new.html

Media Contacts:
Kirsty Boazman, Minister Macfarlane, 02 6277 7580 or 0412 171 444
Catherine Job, Minister Kemp, 02 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400


Backgrounder - Renewable Energy Initiatives

King Island Wind Farm Expansion Project

Under the Renewable Remote Power Generation Program (RRPGP), $1.91 million funding has been made to install two additional 850 kilowatt wind turbines on King Island. The total capacity of the wind turbines is now 2,450 kilowatts, which is equivalent to 30% of the Island's power for its 1,800 residents from a renewable energy source.

The project will be managed by Hydro Tasmania. When complete in late 2003, the project will see a reduction of over one million litres of diesel fuel per year and an annual greenhouse gas saving of 2,800 tonnes. This is the first major project to be funded by RRPGP in Tasmania.

RRPGP is a Commonwealth funded program that provides funding to the States for the installation of renewable generation in remote parts of Australia not connected to the main-grid.

Northern Territory Indigenous Community Solar Power (Solar Systems NT)

A grant of $3.425 million will be provided under the Renewable Remote Power Generation Program (RRPGP) to enable a total of 720 kilowatts of concentrating dish photovoltaic generation to be installed at the Northern Territory communities of Hermannsburg, Yuendumu and Lajamanu.

These projects will generate 1,560 MWh of renewable electricity each year, reduce diesel consumption by over 400,000 litres per year and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 1,100 tonnes per year.

The project will be managed by Solar Systems NT, and the Northern Territory's Power and Water Corporation will purchase the generated electricity. The technology works by focusing sunlight onto a small highly efficient photovoltaic panel that generates the electricity. The heat generated is removed by a closed loop water-cooling system and can be utilized for other purposes, such as increasing evaporation rates in sewage ponds.

Grant to Australian Business Council for Sustainable Energy

A grant of $250,000 will be made to the Australian Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) to enable it to make major advances in implementing the Renewable Energy Action Agenda. The funding will allow the BCSE to employ an Industry Development Manager for two and a half years to achieve specific tasks related to the Action Agenda, which was developed jointly by industry and the Commonwealth Government in June 2000.

Industry Development component of a proposed Australian Renewable Energy Centre

The Commonwealth is working with the Western Australian Government to establish a renewable energy centre at Murdoch University in Perth. The Ministers of Environment and Heritage and Industry have agreed in principle to the allocation of up to $5.5 million over 4 years from the Renewable Remote Power Generation Program to assist in establishing an industry support element of this proposal to address issues impacting on renewable energy in remote areas. A key component of this industry support is a laboratory that will assist the development of standards and accreditation for renewable energy systems and equipment and provide a world class testing facility. The Northern Territory and Queensland Governments have also expressed interest in participating in this development, which will assist the renewable energy industry as a whole.

Renewable Energy Commercialisation in Australia

This book showcases the 53 projects under the Commonwealth funded Renewable Energy Commercialisation Program (RECP), which encouraged innovative new technologies, equipment, systems and processes for the generation of energy from renewable sources.

There are chapters on eight technology categories: biomass, enabling technologies, hot dry rocks, hydro, solar thermal, wave and wind. As well as greenhouse gas abatement benefits, many of the projects also support regional development, salinity amelioration, weed control, waste reduction and export potential.

Commonwealth of Australia