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Joint Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

22 July 2005

Australian Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources
The Hon Ian Macfarlane MP

Business and communities embrace ‘Solar Cities’


The Australian Government has received an overwhelming response to its $75 million Solar Cities initiative, with 21 consortia from across Australia expressing interest in hosting a solar city.

Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, and Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources, Ian Macfarlane, said Solar Cities had captured the national interest.

The programme will revolutionise the way industry and households use energy through pricing mechanisms and smart metering.

Senator Campbell said 7 submissions were received from NSW, 3 from Victoria, 3 from Queensland, 2 from Western Australia, 5 from South Australia, and 1 from the Northern Territory.

"The level of interest shown in Solar Cities highlights that business, industry and the broader community are ready to explore new approaches to our energy future," Senator Campbell said.

Mr Macfarlane said Solar Cities would help deliver a future where consumers were rewarded for using energy more wisely, industry could test new sustainable energy options in a low-risk environment, and electricity utilities could better manage supply and demand.

“It is a pioneering concept that aims to create more energy sustainable communities,” Mr Macfarlane said.

Senator Campbell said the Solar Cities selection process was highly competitive. All proposals would be subject to rigorous assessment by a panel with expertise in energy markets and utilities, finance, science and government policy-making.

The panel will make recommendations to the Environment and Industry Ministers, who will then short-list consortia and invite them to prepare detailed business cases for Solar Cities funding.

Decisions on short-listing are expected to be made in September with an announcement on the final locations in the first half of next year.

Solar Cities will be established in Adelaide and up to three other grid-connected urban areas around Australia. The initiative is a major part of the Government’s $1.8 billion climate change strategy.

Media Contacts:
Renae Stoikos (Senator Campbell’s office) 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434
Helen Mathers (Ian Macfarlane’s office) 02 6277 7580 or 0419 342 582

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