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Joint Media Release
The Hon John Moore MP
Minister for Industry Science and Tourism

Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Minister for the Environment

Senator the Hon Warwick Parer
Minister for Resources and Energy

$2 MILLION RENEWABLE ENERGY BOOST


14 July 1998

The Howard Government has provided a major boost to Australia's response to greenhouse gas emissions with grants worth $2 million to support the development of Australia's renewable energy sources.

Solar thermal energy, photovoltaic cells, wave energy and biomass technologies will be supported by grants ranging from $60,000 to $350,000 in eight projects across Australia.

Total investment in the projects, including private sector commitments, will be around $10 million.

The Minister for Industry, Science and Tourism, Mr John Moore, said Australia had long been at the forefront of the drive to invent and develop innovative renewable energy technologies.

"It is crucial for this ongoing development that these technologies are seen as commercially viable.

"Several electricity supply utilities are actively participating and providing financial support, and this is very encouraging. It demonstrates that the electricity industry is aware of the need to increase the use of renewable energy resources by promoting the development of a viable Australian renewable energy resources industry.

"The technology being supported by the Federal government and industry have great potential here and in export markets. This is another example of innovative Australian R&D being at the forefront of global competitiveness.

"Environment Minister Robert Hill said the grants demonstrated the Government's commitment to developing the renewable energy industry as part of Australia's national effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"The funding for these projects is simply another step toward meeting the global warming challenge. A further $60 million has been earmarked for renewable energy technologies from the Prime Minister's $180 million package of measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Supporting the renewable energy industry is a practical step that will encourage businesses and domestic consumers in urban areas to change to environmentally friendly energy sources.

"Remote areas will also benefit because renewable energy sources have the potential to cost-effectively meet the electricity needs of those communities that presently rely on fossil fuels.

"Energy and Resources Minister Warwick Parer said further support for renewable energy technology would be provided by the newly established Australian Greenhouse Office.

"The development and commercialisation of renewable energy technology is important to Australia meeting its Kyoto commitments.

"Through the AGO, the Howard government will continue to support projects which will produce a better environment and create jobs and export dollars for Australia."

For further information:
Mr Moore's office Chris Wordsworth 02 62777580
Senator Hill's office Matt Brown 02 62777640
Senator Parer's office Bob Baudino 02 62777440

A list of projects to receive Federal grants is attached.


RENEWABLE ENERGY INDUSTRY PROGRAM GRANTS

A consortium comprising ANUTECH Pty Ltd, Solahart Industries Pty Ltd and Western Power Corporation received a grant of $300,000 to construct a 20kW model solar power station near Perth using a combination of photovoltaic cells and mirrors to generate electricity. This followed the successful demonstration of a prototype 2.4kW system near Canberra. The major market for the system in Australia is remote towns and mining camps where it could displace diesel-based generation.

Contacts: ANUTECH: Gaelle Matlakowski tel (02) 6249 5680 or Marietta McGregor tel (02) 6249 4800.
Solahart: Mal Hayes tel (08) 9458 6211 or Louise Boylen tel (08) 9321 7055.
Western Power: Peter Winner tel (08) 9326 4597.

Solahart Industries Pty Ltd in Western Australia received $200,000 to commercialise a newly designed solar water heater collector assembly suitable for mounting directly into roofs and aimed particularly at the growing European market for solar water heaters. The new solar water heaters are designed to accommodate freezing winters and at the same time be aesthetically pleasing.

Contacts: Mal Hayes tel (08) 9458 6211, Louise Boylen tel (08) 9321 7055.

Ocean Power Technologies (Australasia) Pty Ltd and Powercor Australia Ltd were granted $230,000 to install and monitor a 20kW wave energy unit to be installed off the coast of Victoria to demonstrate the commercial and technical viability of utilising the energy of the ocean for both off-grid and grid-connected applications.

Contacts: Ocean Power Technologies: Michael Slonim tel (03) 9329 2848 or 0416 065 444.
Powercor Australia: Bob Coulter tel (03) 9679 4499.

Biomass Energy Services & Technology Pty Ltd has been awarded a grant of $200,000 to utilise noxious weeds harvested from land and water as a fuel and energy source using briquetting technology. The success of this project could also lead to cost-effective control of weeds such as mimosa pigra, which is threatening large areas of the Northern Territory with serious effects on the environment and the tourism industry.

Contact: Stephen Joseph, tel (02) 4340 4911.

Integral Energy, a major NSW electricity supply utility, was awarded $350,000 towards a program aimed at supporting marketing and managing commercial opportunities for small and medium manufacturers of renewable energy products in the South Pacific and Asia regions. Sales promotion and back-up such as maintenance and spares will be provided through Integral Energy's existing networks and relationships with electricity utilities in the region.

Contact: David Neville, tel (02) 9853 6144 or (0418) 609 541.

CitiPower Pty will use its grant of $60,000 to support its program to install grid-connected solar photovoltaic panels on a minimum of 100 roofs in Melbourne. Using targeted marketing, CitiPower expects the project to provide at least $1 million of additional business for Australian manufacturers of solar cells and ancillary electrical equipment.

Contact: Ross Gilmour, tel (03) 9297 8982 or 0418 531 692.

Rocky Point Sugar Mill in southeast Queensland has received $350,000 to demonstrate the feasibility of using existing cogeneration plant at the sugar mill for electricity generation outside the cane crushing season using a variety of locally sourced biomass as the fuel source.

Contact: David Heck tel (07) 5546 2422.

A consortium of the Sugar Research Institute at Mackay, the Mackay Sugar Cooperative Association Ltd (Farleigh Mill) and Rolls Royce Industrial Power (Pacific) Ltd was granted $200,000 towards the commercial demonstration of swirl burner combustion technology at Farleigh Mill. This technology has the potential to significantly increase the efficiency of electricity generation from sugar mill steam boilers using feedstock such as bagasse.

Contact: Graeme Bullock ph (079) 527600

Commonwealth of Australia