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Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon. Dr David Kemp

13 November 2003

Greenhouse Friendly Electricity Sparks Householder Interest


Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, was delighted to announce today the launch of AGL's first Greenhouse Friendly electricity product to householders.

The AGL Greenhouse Friendly electricity product, Green Balance, is now on offer to Australian householders. Green Balance electricity represents a significant opportunity for the residential market to purchase a Greenhouse Friendly certified product and assist Australia's ongoing emissions reduction efforts.

To qualify for Greenhouse Friendly certification from the Australian Greenhouse Office, all greenhouse emissions produced throughout the life cycle of a product or service need to be 100% offset by investment in corresponding greenhouse gas abatement.

Dr Kemp commended AGL for taking this additional step for the environment noting the significant benefits for businesses in responding to increasing public demand for environmentally conscious goods and services.

"Businesses can help their market position, and the environment, through Greenhouse Friendly. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of choosing an environmentally friendly alternative and there is a growing expectation that businesses take a greater role in addressing the environmental consequences of the goods and services they provide. Greenhouse Friendly provides an opportunity for everyday businesses to take on that enhanced stewardship role," Dr Kemp said.

Dr Kemp said business and industry could enjoy significant market opportunities through the Greenhouse Friendly which is open to a wide range of products and services and the full suite of Australian abatement opportunities.

"Business and industry have an opportunity to lead the way, as AGL has, by ensuring that a growing number of their products and services earn certification under the Greenhouse Friendly. Consumers now have even greater opportunity to support the Government's effort in reducing Australia's greenhouse gas emissions through their choice of electricity.

"AGL's joining the Greenhouse Friendly is a testament to the importance of the certification process and sets the scene for introducing new companies to the program in the future through a wide range of abatement opportunities such as fuel switching, landfill methane collection and flaring, energy efficiency measures, sequestration through tree and environmental plantings and renewable energy projects that do not attract Renewable Energy Certificates under the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000."

The Greenhouse Friendly is a Howard Government initiative encouraging additional private sector investment in greenhouse gas abatement within Australia. The program is designed to engage business and consumers in a wide range of greenhouse gas abatement opportunities.

For further information on AGL visit www.agl.com.au or Greenhouse Friendly on www.greenhouse.gov.au/greenhousefriendly.


Background

Greenhouse Friendly

The Greenhouse Friendly Program is a Howard Government initiative, delivered through the Australian Greenhouse Office (AGO), encouraging greater voluntary private sector investment in greenhouse gas abatement that goes beyond 'business as usual' actions. This Program enables product manufacturers and service providers to obtain Greenhouse Friendly certification for products and services whose emissions have been 100% fully offset by approved greenhouse gas abatement. The Program is designed to engage consumers on climate change issues and greenhouse gas abatement and give consumers the confidence to make an informed choice.

AGL's first Greenhouse Friendly product

AGL became Australia's first energy company to offer electricity certified as Greenhouse Friendly by the AGO in August 2002. To date, AGL has successfully reduced the impact of greenhouse emissions by 73,000 tonnes a year (of carbon dioxide equivalent) as a result of methane gas flaring projects located at landfills in Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia.

Colonial First State Property (a wholly owned subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia) was the first customer to purchase Greenhouse Friendly certified electricity. Colonial agreed to purchase a total of 87,000 megawatt hours of AGL's Greenhouse Friendly certified power over three years.

Colonial uses AGL Green Balance to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions footprint of the Commonwealth Bank's head office at Martin Place and a range of other bank premises. This was the first Greenhouse Friendly transaction in the national electricity market, and it fully supports the AGO's Greenhouse Challenge Program.

Providing 'AGL Green Balance' to residential customers

In August 2003, AGL commenced offering Australia's first Greenhouse Friendly product - AGL Green Balance - to residential and small business customers in NSW, South Australia and Victoria. This product offers customers the opportunity to offset either 50% or 100% of the greenhouse gas emissions created by their electricity consumption. In return for paying a small premium on their electricity bill AGL will invest in greenhouse gas abatement projects.

The table below provides an example of what Green Balance customers would contribute to participate in the programme. For example, the average household (in Victoria) consumes 6,500 kWh of electricity, therefore, a consumer purchasing 100 per cent AGL Green Balance would contribute to the abatement of approximately 9.54 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year at an additional annual cost of $71.50. This is equivalent to taking two standard vehicles of the road for one year. The 50 per cent option would provide emissions abatement equivalent to taking one standard vehicle off the road for one year at an additional annual cost of around $35.75.

  Contribution C/kWh
Additional cost per kWh to the customer 50% 0.55c/kWh
100% 1.1c/kWh
Estimated greenhouse gas emissions avoided or eliminated 50% 4.77 tonnes
100% 9.54 tonnes
Note: Figures supplied by AGL

The AGL Green Balance product is officially certified by the AGO with the guiding principle that all of the cradle-to-grave greenhouse gas emissions associated with a product or service are offset by a corresponding amount of emissions abatement.

Commonwealth of Australia