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

25 March 2003

Million Dollar Boost to Renewable Energy Industry


Nine major renewable energy projects have been backed with almost $1 million in Commonwealth funding, Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp and Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources Ian Macfarlane announced today.

"These projects - ranging from assessing impacts of wind turbines on wildlife to converting pig waste to electricity - will receive a share of this funding under Round 7 of the Government's $6 million Renewable Energy Industry Development program," Dr Kemp said.

"The Renewable Energy Industry Development (REID) program - a component of the Renewable Energy Commercialisation program - is funded with $6 million over four years, aimed at building Australia's capacity in developing renewable energy and maximising renewable technology already available in Australia. A total of $3.5 million has funded 35 grants to date."

Among the projects funded under the latest round are:

"Grants have also been provided to a number of organisations and industry associations to help develop resource assessment, training and accreditation programs, standards and best practice guidelines to lift the quality and reliability of renewable energy installations," Mr Macfarlane said.

"These projects are an excellent example of the Howard Government and industry working together to build a strong renewable energy industry. Australia is among the world's leaders in the field of renewable energy and - backed with Federal Government support - I am confident it will continue to grow in leaps and bounds over the coming years."

Dr Kemp added: "The Government is committed to increasing the uptake of renewable energy as a key means of meeting Australia's future energy needs without adding to our greenhouse gas emissions.

"Renewable energy is a key element of the Commonwealth's climate change policy and these grants demonstrate the Government's determination to be a good citizen in the international effort to combat greenhouse."

Media Contacts:
Catherine Job (Dr Kemp's office) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400
Kirsty Boazman (Minister Macfarlane's office) 6277 7580 or 0412 171 444


Renewable Energy Industry Development Project Details

Australian Wind Energy Association and Environment Victoria - $200,000 to create a series of protocols for the assessment of wind turbine impacts on birds and bats and develop and disseminate a range of educational material on Australian wind farms.

Australian Pork Ltd - $150,000 to investigate the technical and economic feasibility of converting pig wastes to electricity. The study results will be promoted to association members, electricity utilities and the financial sector.

National Association of Forest Industries - $150,000 to review the global use of wood waste as a source of renewable energy, identify the capacity of the Australian forest and timber industry to participate in the renewable energy industry and develop information and educational packages to raise awareness and address concerns of consumers, manufacturers, and the finance sector.

Electricity Supply Association of Australia - $73,000 to boost Australian representation in the International Energy Agency (IEA) Photovoltaic (solar) Power Systems Program over three years. Funding will allow the consortium the certainty and resources to commit to involvement in new projects being developed within IEA.

Standards Australia International - $50,000 grant for Standards Australia to work with the European Standards Organization to ensure the continued acceptance of Australian quality standards for Solar Hot Water Heaters exported to Europe.

Australian and New Zealand Solar Energy Society - $86,300 grant to develop a marketing strategy which will include coordinating information tours of leading Australian renewable energy facilities. The project will also create a website with virtual tours of these facilities which can be accessed by potential markets around the globe. In addition, the project will also provide information on rebates, energy service options and links to manufacturers.

ACT Utilities and Light Manufacturing Industry Training Board - $25,000 grant to undertake a national scoping exercise to stocktake existing renewable energy support networks and materials. This will identify funding agencies, suppliers of training and education equipment, support materials and software development agencies. Also it will identify bodies willing to offer scholarships and awards as well as energy suppliers and retailers who are offering incentives for renewable energy installations.

Global Sustainable Energy Solutions - $99,700 to showcase Australian renewable energy products and services to international markets. This project will focus on meeting the needs of small to medium sized renewable energy firms.

Solarch - $80,000 to produce best practice guidelines for the implementation of Building Integrated Photovoltaics (solar panels). The guidelines will outline displacement cost savings compared with conventional materials. Stakeholder consultation will be used to determine the structure of the Guidelines. The guidelines will also cover safety and standards planning as well as contractual and compliance issues.

For more information on Australian Greenhouse Office programs, visit the website www.greenhouse.gov.au or phone the infoline toll-free on 1300 130 606.

Renewable Energy Development Initiatives

The Australian Government is strongly committed to increasing the use of renewable energy in Australia as a way of meeting our increasing energy needs without adding to our greenhouse gas emissions. To this end, it has committed some $377 million in programs to support 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 by 2010, through the Mandatory Renewable Energy target.

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 will have increased the contribution of renewable energy sources in Australia's electricity mix to 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.

Renewable Remote Power Generation
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 of up to $264 million over ten years are derived from excise paid on diesel used to generate electricity by public electricity generators.

Projects supported include the Bushlight Project, which focuses on the provision of renewable energy in small remote indigenous communities, and the Bulman and Kings Canyon project which will test the effectiveness of larger renewable energy installations under different tropical climactic conditions. A large wind farm has also been approved for funding for Esperance. Further applications for large off-grid projects are currently being considered.

Supporting Photovoltaic Systems
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. $31 million is available to the program, which should fund about 6,000 systems, each averaging around 1kW (peak), over the life of the program.

Renewable Energy Commercialisation Program (RECP)
This five year competitive grants program has made over $50 million available to foster 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.

Some 49 projects have been supported under the commercialisation component, covering a range of renewable applications such as wind, solar thermal and solar photovoltaic, biomass, wave energy, hot dry rock and enabling technologies. Such projects include the Narrogin integrated wood processing plant that not only will produce renewable energy, but will also help to combat salinity, sequester carbon and produce eucalyptus oil and activated carbon for sale as by-products. Other examples include a project to develop a small high efficiency biomass to electricity system, suitable for use in a range of rural industries and an innovative solar power station for the Anangu Pitjantjatjara lands, located in the north-west corner of South Australia, which will use the latest solar dish technology developed by Australian company, Solar Systems.

Renewable Energy Industry Development (REID) Program
This is a sub-program of the RECP, with funding of $6 million over four years. 35 grants totalling $3.5 million have been provided to date. Projects supported include funding to establish a national facility dedicated to testing and accrediting renewable energy systems. Through this project, Australia will have a state of the art renewable energy testing laboratory of international standard. Grants have also been provided to a number of organisations and industry associations to enable them to develop resource assessment, training and accreditation programs, standards and best practice guidelines to lift the quality and reliability of renewable energy installations. Associations include the Sustainable Energy Industry Association, the Australian EcoGeneration Association, the ANZ Solar Energy Society, the Waste Management Association of Australia, and the Australian Wind Energy Association (AusWEA). A recently completed project was the development of Best Practice Guidelines for Wind Energy Projects in Australia, produced by AusWEA with AGO funding. Summaries of the projects supported under the Renewable Energy Commercialisation Program are at the AGO web site at http://www.greenhouse.gov.au/renewable/recp/index.html

Renewable Energy Equity Fund
The Renewable Energy Equity Fund provides venture capital for small companies seeking to commercialise innovative renewable energy technologies. The Commonwealth is providing $17.7 million in funding, which is boosted to about $26.6 million by private sector capital. An independent private fund manager makes investments in accordance with set guidelines. Companies that have received support under this program are Battery Energy, Wind Corporation Australia, Novera Energy, Geodynamics and Superior Energy Systems.

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.

Renewable Energy Technology Roadmap
The Renewable Energy Technology Roadmap builds on the directions identified in the Renewable Energy Action Agenda. The roadmap analyses strategic technology development crucial to establishing and maintaining long term competitive advantage. It outlines a long term research and development plan that defines the industry's collective future and establishes clear pathways forward for each technology.

Commonwealth of Australia