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Australian Outback Gets Help from Renewable Energy

The government of Australia will invest more than $15 million to support renewable energy programs in its outback.

CANBERRA, ACT, AU, 2001-03-15 <SolarAccess.com> “Through these programs, remote communities will reduce their reliance on diesel fuel and move towards clean, renewable energy thereby cutting greenhouse gas emissions,” says federal Environment Minister Robert Hill. “Access to 24-hour power for the things most of us take for granted like refrigeration, lighting and communications is vital to improving health, education and employment opportunities in remote communities.” The funding involves $8 million for the Indigenous Communities Support Project to expand the use of renewable energy in 250 indigenous communities. Another $7.6 million will go to the South Australian Office of Energy Policy for rebates to replace diesel power with renewable energy technologies. The funding is the first in a series of projects to be announced under the Commonwealth Government’s Renewable Remote Power Generation Program, according to the Ministerial Council on Greenhouse. The Indigenous Communities Support Project is managed by the Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Commission. The renewables projects will benefit communities in South Australia, Western Australian, Queensland and the Northern Territory. A main feature of the project will be the creation of mobile service teams designed to assist communities with education, advice, repairs and maintenance of these remote renewable power systems. The second project will provide half the cost of installing renewable energy in areas which now use diesel generated power. “With installations in areas that do not have access to the main grid, the South Australian program is estimated to save at least 15 million litres of diesel and at least 40,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions over the 20 year life of the renewable systems,” adds Hill. The Renewable Remote Power Generation Program is administered by the Australian Greenhouse Office and will provide $264 million in funding for conversion of diesel based electricity supplies to renewable energy technologies.