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

17 March 2004

Australian Government invests $5.5 million in renewable energy centre


The Australian Government has committed more than $5 million to the development of an exciting new sustainable energy centre which will be officially launched today at the Murdoch University in Western Australia.

The Research Institute for Sustainable Energy (RISE) will undertake a range of sustainable energy activities including the Renewable Energy Systems Laboratory (RESLab) systems testing and standards activities, remote renewable energy education, training and strategy development.

The Australian Government is a strong supporter of the project having earmarked $5.5 million funding to RESLab, a key component of the new centre at RISE.

“This funding will be used for the development of associated renewable energy industry support activities, including the development of standards and the testing of renewable energy systems and their parts,” the Ministers said.

“We are proud to be supporting a number of highly valuable studies and activities that should enable the renewables industry to fill some of the remaining information and development gaps, particularly in terms of the use of remote renewables.”

The Australian Government's funding will help RESLab seek accreditation as a world-class systems testing laboratory through the National Association of Testing Authorities.

“This kind of industry development activity will foster and promote the effective use and deployment of renewable energy, especially in the challenging area of remote area power supplies,” the Ministers said.

“This project highlights some of the world-class renewable energy initiatives being developed in Australia and is an excellent example of Government investing in concrete measures to tackle climate change,” they said.

Renewable energy has an important role to play as part of Australia's overall energy picture and the Australian Government has already demonstrated this with a commitment of over $300 million for renewable initiatives.


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 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. By February 2004, RRPGP projects and sub-programs worth a total of $124 million had been approved.

RRPGP is managed by the Australian Greenhouse Office and provides Special 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.

Australian Government funding for the Research Institute for Sustainable Energy

The Australian Government is providing $5.5 million funding through the Renewable Remote Power Generation Program for the Research Institute for Sustainable Energy to undertake a range of sustainable energy activities. There are three key parts to the Australian Government funded project:

  1. RESLab operations/activities

including:

  1. Education and training

Education, training and course development for industry accreditation and professional development, focussing on regional and remote area power supply systems and issues.

  1. Strategy development/strategic tasks

including:

Commonwealth of Australia