Deadline Coming for $2 Million Renewables Program

The Australian government in New South Wales is offering A$2 million to promote renewable energy for applications that arrive before tomorrow.

SYDNEY, Australia – The Renewables Investment Program (RIP) promotes new renewable electricity generation or the substitution of fossil fuels by renewables. The latest phase, round five, focuses on developing and demonstrating new technologies or the new application of existing technologies. “This Round of the renewable Investment Program will provide $2 million to assist in bring new energy technology to the marketplace.” says NSW energy minister Kim Yeadon. “This government’s Renewables Investment Program is one reason why almost half of Australia’s $33 billion dollar renewable energy industry is based in NSW.” The RIP supports capital investments in new renewable energy production equipment, and is not intended to support research activities, feasibility studies or investigations. It does not support small generators with output of less than 25 kW, and small photovoltaic systems may be eligible under a Building Integrated PV Program offered by the Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA). Although coal seam methane generation and fossil fuel-fired cogeneration are not defined as renewable resources, projects using those sources can also receive financial assistance from SEDA. The program was announced in late 1998 with an initial budget of $5 million over three years, and has been offered in two rounds a year since then. Successful applications to the fifth public call for bids will be required to spend the funds by this May. Eligibility will be determined by the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in NSW that will be reduced and by compliance with the principles of ecologically sustainable development. The assessment includes a calculation of the cost to SEDA per unit of CO2 emission reduction and per unit of electricity or heat generation, which is calculated from the total funding support and future income streams, divided by the expected reduction in GHG emissions. Applications can apply for a maximum loan of $1 million or 40 percent of project capital, which must be completely repaid within five years, or an upfront grant of 20 percent of project capital to a maximum of $1 million for any single project. Grants may require the applicant to assign exclusively to SEDA for all rights relating to GHG emission reduction. GHG emission reductions should be a direct result of a project and must occur in NSW. Emission reductions may result from capture of fugitive GHG emissions from landfill gas or offset in alternate fossil fuel energy, but carbon sequestration through planting trees or energy crops are not included. Applications must provide a ‘Statement of Environmental Effects’ to detail any environmental concerns or impacts associated with the proposal, including impact on biodiversity, endangered species, water, soil, air quality, noise levels and other factors. “This program, positions NSW at the forefront of a developing export industry and brings growth to regional Australia,” adds Yeadon. SEDA is an agency created by the New South Wales Government.

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