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

15 June 2004

Solar cities pilot programme to secure solar energy future


As part of the Energy White Paper the Government has provided $75 million to develop Solar Cities trials in typical urban settings. These funds will be used to support households and businesses to install solar energy systems for their water and electricity needs, and build in greater energy efficiency. The programme will also work with State and local governments to address energy market arrangements that currently do not reward local generation of energy needs, and planning rules which can limit the uptake of solar energy.

Minister for Environment and Heritage Dr David Kemp has welcomed this bold new initiative. "Solar Cities will provide working demonstrations of how new technology, energy efficiency, efficient markets and supportive government can work together to produce environmentally sustainable communities."

An innovative element of the trials will be the installation of time-of-use meters on households and commercial premises. These will allow for energy prices to reflect the true costs of energy provision. At times of peak load, when solar energy output is often at its highest, electricity costs can be 100 times the average. Time of use meters allow consumers to adjust their energy use to when it costs less, and to realise the full rewards of becoming more energy efficient. The Government will ensure that consumers are not worse off under the trial.

The Australian Government will work closely with State governments and industry to achieve this improved pricing outcome.

The energy market reform elements of the Solar Cities Pilot Programme have been endorsed by Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources Ian Macfarlane. "More cost-reflective energy pricing is an important part of energy market reform, and with Solar Cities, we will be able to demonstrate the economic and environmental benefits that such changes can deliver. This should help speed up progress in making energy markets perform better for all consumers."

White Paper details are available at www.pmc.gov.au/energy_future

Commonwealth of Australia