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

March 31 2003

Windmills to Wind Farms

Parliamentary Secretary for Environment and Heritage, Dr Sharman Stone today paid tribute to the pioneers of wind energy, recalling that Australia's landscape icon, the windmill, once lifted most of the nations water from dams to tanks and stock troughs.

"In the late twentieth century we turned from wind to diesel motors and coal fired generated electricity to lift water. Today, wind power is reclaiming its rightful place in the Australian landscape and in the economy," Dr Stone said.

In delivering the keynote address at the 2nd Annual Australian Wind Energy Conference, Dr Stone outlined a number of the Government's initiatives in particular the construction of the world's biggest wind turbines at Mawson station in Australia's Antarctica Territory.

"These wind turbines are designed to replace over 40 per cent of the diesel used to supply power to Mawson station," said Dr Stone.

This project is the first wind energy system of its type in the world. It represents the first serious attempt by any nation in Antarctica to obtain a significant electricity supply from some of the world's most powerful winds.

Dr Stone also recognised Australia's other extensive, world-class wind resource which is experiencing extraordinary growth, albeit from a very small base.

"Over the past four years, capacity has increased from 100 to 740 mega watts. This growth is set to continue with a further 1400 mega watts of capacity in the development stages."

With the best wind sites in rural and regional Australia, smaller communities are benefiting from direct employment opportunities as well as the economic flow-on effects associated with local installation and operation of wind farms.

"The emergence of a wind turbine manufacturing industry in regional areas is encouraging and demonstrates the strength of the Australian renewable energy market," Dr Stone said.

Further information:
Anna Hughes (Dr Stone's office) 0408 697 055

Commonwealth of Australia