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Minister for the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts 2001-2004

The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP

 

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

3 June 2004

New renewable generation rebate benefits remote Tasmanians


Householders in remote areas of Tasmania can now access reliable and continuously available renewable electricity with help from an Australian Government renewable energy funding program, Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, announced today.

Dr Kemp said that, over the life of the program, the Tasmanian Residential Remote Area Power Supply (RAPS) program would help off-grid householders reduce reliance on diesel generators by incorporating renewable generation equipment into their power supply system.

"For people living in remote areas of Australia, diesel fuel has long been the main source of power generation available. This program will now make renewable generation more affordable to individual households not connected to the main electricity grid in Tasmania," Dr Kemp said.

"With Australian Government funding of $1.8 million over four years, the new rebate scheme will provide 50 per cent of the capital costs of renewable generation equipment and essential enabling equipment for permanently occupied, off-grid residential dwellings."

Funding for the Tasmanian Residential RAPS program - which is administered by the Tasmanian Office of Energy Planning and Conservation - is expected to be mainly directed towards photovoltaic (solar), wind turbine and micro-hydro generation equipment and essential enabling equipment such as batteries and inverters.

Dr Kemp said the environmental benefits were an important factor in Australian Government support for the new rebate as were improved lifestyles for remote households.

"The program is estimated to reduce diesel consumption for remote power generation in Tasmania by about 360,000 litres per year. Not only will householders see a reduction in their fuel costs, they will also see improvements in their local environment - less noise, less smell, a cleaner environment thanks to less air pollution and reduced greenhouse gases," he said.

Funding for the Tasmanian Residential RAPS program is provided under the Australian Government's Renewable Remote Power Generation Program (RRPGP). Under the RRPGP in Tasmania, the Australian Government has already provided $1.91 million for two new 850 kilowatt wind turbines on King Island and approved $15,000 to fund renewable energy feasibility studies at Parks and Wildlife Service sites in Tasmania.

Tasmanian householders can obtain more information about the new rebate and remote area power supply systems from the Tasmanian Office of Energy Planning and Conservation on 1800 105 688.


Backgrounder

Renewable Remote Power Generation Program

Many people, businesses and towns in remote locations rely on diesel generators for the provision of electricity. The Australian Greenhouse Office estimates that over 700 million litres of diesel are consumed each year in Australia for the generation of electricity in remote areas. Due to the high costs of maintaining and fuelling diesel generators, many remote households make do with electricity only being available for 8 to 12 hours a day. Renewable generation (usually photovoltaic panels and wind turbines), combined with inverters and batteries, can provide access to affordable 24-hour power.

The aim of the Renewable Remote Power Generation Program (RRPGP) is to displace the use of diesel fuel used for electricity generation by increasing the uptake of renewable generation technologies in remote locations that do not have access to the main electricity grid. Funding for the program is the relevant Diesel Fuel Excise paid by public power generators in the financial years 2000-01 to 2003-04. To the end of April 2004, RRPGP projects and sub-programs worth a total of over $124 million had been approved.

RRPGP is managed by the Australian Greenhouse Office and provides Specific Purpose Payments to participating States and Territories. Once the Australian Government has approved a Sub-Program, Major Project or Industry Support activity, it is administered by State Government energy agencies. Sub-Programs typically provide rebates of up to 50% of the initial capital cost of renewable energy generation equipment and essential enabling equipment that reduce reliance on diesel for electricity generation.

Tasmanian Residential Remote Area Power Supply Program

Tasmania has an estimated 300 to 400 households not connected to the main electricity grid and this number is expected to increase. Currently these households rely primarily on diesel generators for electricity. The Residential Remote Area Power Supply (RAPS) program will support the uptake of renewable generation equipment by remote households with an estimated reduction in diesel consumption for electricity generation of around 360,000 litres per year.

The Tasmanian RAPS will receive $1.8 million over four years from the Australian Government's Renewable Remote Power Generation Program. The objectives of the Tasmanian RAPS program are:

Under the Tasmanian Residential RAPS program, households will be eligible for a rebate of 50 per cent of the capital costs of renewable generation equipment and essential enabling equipment that displaces diesel fuel for electricity generation in permanently occupied residential dwellings in remote parts of Tasmania. The funding is expected to be directed towards photovoltaic (solar), wind and micro-hydro RAPS systems.

Rebates, which are capped at a maximum of $40,000, will be available for both new renewable energy RAPS systems and additions of new equipment to existing RAPS systems. Rebates are only available for residences that are the permanent dwelling of the applicant, and the property must:

The Renewable Remote Power Generation Program is delivered through the Tasmanian Office of Energy Planning and Conservation. The Australian Government has already provided $1.91 million for two new 850 kilowatt wind turbines on King Island and approved $15,000 to fund renewable energy feasibility studies at Parks and Wildlife Service sites in Tasmania.

Based on the demand for off-grid installations under the Photovoltaic Rebate Program (PVRP), it is expected that projects will be implemented in the following municipalities: Central Highlands, Glamorgan Spring Bay, Kingborough, Huon Valley, Meander Valley, Circular Head, Kentish, West Coast, Flinders and King Islands. The Tasmanian RAPS program will also be promoted to the community on Cape Barren Island.

Commonwealth of Australia