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

26 July 2004

Reducing Australia's carbon signature


The first wind farm in Antarctica is one way Australia is effectively reducing its greenhouse signature and meeting future energy needs, Dr Sharman Stone, Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment and Heritage said today in a keynote address to the Towards Zero Emissions conference in Brisbane.

"As demand for energy in Australia is expected to increase by around 50 per cent between now and 2020, Australia needs a portfolio of technologies that meet its energy needs and reduce its greenhouse gas signature," Dr Stone said.

"Australia is the first nation in Antarctica to harness wind power as a renewable energy source from wind turbines installed at Mawson station on the Antarctic continent in March 2003. In the first 12 months of operation to March 2004, the turbines provided around 60 per cent of the station's electricity load and cut diesel fuel consumption from 600,000 litres to 440,000 litres.

"But while renewable energy, and energy efficiency improvements will play an important part in meeting our growing energy demands, the bulk of our energy will come from fossil fuels.

"Around 48% of our greenhouse emissions come from the stationary energy sector and this means that Australia must investigate and demonstrate low emission technologies - meaning both renewable and fossil fuel technologies.

"At present, we can arguably only make a greater contribution to emission reductions by improving how we produce and use fossil fuel. But we are making considerable progress"

"Australia accounts for only 1.6 per cent of total global greenhouse emissions and has made progress in decoupling economic growth from emissions growth. Between 1990 and 2002, the Australian economy grew by 47 per cent, while our emissions grew by only 1.3 per cent."

Through the Energy White Paper, the Australian Government has committed more than $700 million in new funding to low emission technologies, including renewables, energy efficiency and fossil fuels.

Dr Stone said a number of low emissions technologies, including geosequestration, wind turbines, hot dry rocks and hydrogen power, as examples, provided energy opportunities for Australia.

"Geosequestration or Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) capture and store carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuel use and industrial applications. Preliminary estimates suggest that around 120-180 million tonnes of CO2 per and provide Australia with its single largest opportunity to reduce emissions in the medium to longer term while helping to underpin the value of existing resources, and maintaining competitiveness by ensuring reliable access to competitively priced energy," Dr Stone said.

Commonwealth of Australia