Australia Funds Renewable Energy Program in Outback

The government of Australia will provide Aus$4.28 million to boost the use of renewable energy in outback regions.

CANBERRA, Australia 2002-02-19 [] The funding will be provided through the Commonwealth’s Renewable Remote Power Generation Program, said environment minister David Kemp. Funding of $200 million is available over five years to reduce reliance on diesel-based electricity through the installation of renewable energy. The majority of the funding, $3.5 million, is directed at remote areas of Western Australia, which will receive money under the Renewable Energy Water Pumping program. “The funding will help people and businesses in remote parts of Western Australia replace their diesel powered pumps with new solar and wind powered systems,” said Kemp. “With the Commonwealth Government providing up to half the cost of the renewable energy systems, there has never been a better time to convert to clean, renewable energy.” “Reliable water systems are crucial in outback Australia and the new generation pumps will be used to provide water for livestock and commercial horticulture projects, as well as to help reduce salinity problems in some agricultural areas,” he added. The balance of the funding, $780,000, will go to the New South Wales Renewable Remote Power Generation Program. The program funds installations that displace the use of diesel. Organizations with remote facilities can use the funding to install wind turbines and solar panels to reduce reliance on diesel generators for electricity generation. “The funds will be used to provide up to half of the initial capital cost of renewable generating technologies installed in remote parts of NSW,” explained Kemp. “Through these programs, people in remote areas will cut their reliance on diesel fuel and move toward clean, renewable energy. Some remote consumers will receive the benefit of affordable 24-hour power for the first time.” The program is delivered through a cooperative approach between the Commonwealth government and the states and is administered by state energy agencies within each jurisdiction. More than 700 million liters of diesel fuel are consumed each year in remote locations of Australia to generate electricity. Due to the high cost, many remote homes use their diesel systems for less than 12 hours a day, but the use of solar PV panels and wind turbines, combined with inverters and batteries, can provide 24-hour power. The Renewable Remote Power Generation Program is managed by the Australian Greenhouse Office and provides Special Purpose Payments to participating states and territories. Once a program has been approved by the federal government, it is administered by the state energy agency and typically provides rebates of 50 percent of the initial capital cost for the renewable energy equipment. Other projects that are funded include Western Australia’s Remote Area Power Supply Program, which has a budget of $18 million; the Northern Territory’s Renewable Energy Rebate Program, with a budget of $38.2 million; Queensland’s Working Property Rebate Program, which has a budget of $8 million; the Renewable Energy Diesel Replacement Program with a budget of $22.3 million; and South Australia’s Renewable Remote Power Generation Program, with a budget of $7.6 million.
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