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

3 July 2000

Sun, Wind and Sea join Coal to fire up the nation

Wind farms, solar driven manufacturing, tidal power, energy generated from methane trapped in land fills and sewerage treatment plants; these are destined to become a growing part of Australia's energy options following ground breaking legislation introduced to Parliament last week.

Dr Sharman Stone MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Environment and Heritage ushered in the Renewable Energy Bill 2000 an important step in ensuring a move toward cleaner, greener energy production in Australia.

"This Bill marks a new era creating a market for renewable energy by mandatory targets", Dr Stone said.

"When this Bill becomes law, large buyers of electricity will need to source more of their energy needs from environmentally friendly, renewable fuel sources. Large buyers would be required to source an additional 2% of their electricity from renewable or waste product energy sources from 2010."

"The old coal burning power stations have served our economy well", Sharman Stone said.

"However, our cheap and abundant coal has meant there was little incentive in the past to replace fossil fuel with more greenhouse friendly energy sources".

"Electricity generation represents the single largest source of Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions. This new measure by the Howard Government will require a reduction of up to seven million tonnes per year in pollutants", said Dr Stone.

"The new law, will require an additional 9,500 gigawatt hours of renewable energy to be generated over the 2010 to 2020 period - the equivalent to almost twice the annual renewable electricity generation of the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme".

The Bill follows two years of detailed consultation with industry, community interests and State and Territory Governments.

"It makes Australia one of the first nations to go beyond voluntary compliance. We have to be sure that a market for the alternative energy sources develops quickly, despite the continued abundant supplies of coal".

"Not only did this Government establish the world's first greenhouse office, it has also committed over $1 billion toward greenhouse gas abatement measures, $1.5 billion for the Natural Heritage Trust and is on the verge of implementing the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act which will give Australia significantly stronger environment protection".

Dr Stone said that the Government was committed to working with business, community groups and other stakeholders to promote environmental outcomes that protected our precious natural resources but were not detrimental to the economic growth of the nation.

"One of the consequences of our sustained economic growth is a considerable increase in demand for energy by industry. We now have to make sure this new energy is not generated or consumed at the expense of the environment", Sharman Stone said.

Media Inquiries
Simon Frost 0419 495 468 or (02) 6277 2016
Monday July 3 2000

Commonwealth of Australia