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The Hon Dr Sharman Stone MP
Federal Member for Murray
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister
for the Environment and Heritage


29 February 2000

'GREEN' COAL AND SOLAR POWERED UNIVERSITIES A REALITY IN VICTORIA


Cutting edge technology and learning have been combined in Melbourne University Private's plan to power part of its newest building using solar energy, thanks to a $755,000 grant from the Federal Government.

Melbourne University Private is one of three Victorian enterprises to share in $1.9 million in grants from the Renewable Energy Commercialisation Program (RECP), announced today by Dr Sharman Stone MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Environment and Heritage.

"Melbourne University Private's School of Energy and Environment will be Australia's first large-scale solar wall building to develop and demonstrate solar power generation. Lighting on two floors of the new building will be run on solar power," Sharman Stone said.

"The potential for wider application of solar power technology within the commercial building industry will significantly assist in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions."

Dr Stone said the RECP grants were part of a $60 million commitment by the Federal Government for the commercialisation of renewable energy technology.

Thiess Contractors Pty Ltd will receive $1 million to design and construct a renewable energy coal drying plant at Morwell. The 4.75 MW plant will be powered by biomass fuels such as plant, wood or agricultural waste, reducing the amount of coal required to produce a kilowatt of electricity.

"Cleaner, greener fossil fuels are hard to imagine, but the technology is now available to turn the concept into a reality," Sharman Stone said.

"Combining renewable energy technology with traditional fossil fuels for energy production will also contribute significantly to the reduction in pollution levels and greenhouse gas emissions."

Dr Stone said the RECP grants came in addition to a recent householder incentives program offering subsidies of up to $8,250 for conversion to solar power.

"Promoting the everyday use of 'green power' in our households and businesses is vital if we are to reduce emissions and prevent global warming."

"The key is developing commercially viable, cutting edge technology such as those funded through the RECP grants, that can in turn deliver cheaper, cleaner power everyday to Australian businesses and households."

Plasmatronics Pty Ltd will receive $125,000 to commercialise its solar electric charge control technology aimed at making solar electric power systems more affordable.

The next round of RECP grants open on 7 March 2000. Grants of up to $1 million are available. For further information check the Australian Greenhouse Office website at www.greenhouse.gov.au/renewable/recp/.

Media Inquiries:
Nicole Johnston, Assistant Adviser, 02 6277 2016 or 0419 219 415

Commonwealth of Australia