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Tuesday, 9 September 2003
Page: 14681

Senator MURPHY (6:52 PM) —I move:

That the Senate take note of the document.

The annual report of the Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator contains some interesting reading. With regard to renewable energy per se and this report of the regulator, there are some interesting statistics contained in the report. What is important is that the report does in part show that in respect of renewable energy generation there has been a significant focus on cogeneration by the companies involved with renewable energy. Page 6 of the report sets out summary statistics for accreditation by 31 December 2001 and by 31 December 2002. Bagasse cogeneration went from seven to 25. That is different from, say, wind, which went from 10 to 14.

This is one of the important things about the renewable energy accreditation process. It is important that the level was set at two per cent of energy to be renewable energy by 2010. Even in this report, it is clearly evident that that target is way below what we ought to be seeking to achieve. I hope that at some point in time when we get to the review process the parliament will see fit to increase the renewable energy credits system. Rather than being two per cent, it should be increased by an additional 10 per cent. If we are to really drive renewable energy in this country, that is what is going to be important.

The target has been surpassed, so it is even more important that we take the approach of increasing the target to a level that will drive investment in real renewable energy. That is critically important. In this country, renewable energy is very important from a long-term economic point of view. In the northern part of the country, we have a significant amount of sunshine, but we are not seeing a greater requirement in the use of energy from the sun. Likewise, in my state, Tasmania, we have established one reasonable-size wind farm, but we are not seeking to increase the amount of wind farms to generate much more electricity from what is probably one of the better renewable energy sources. In Tasmania, of course, we have a hydro power system which is water generated and which is very good, but it is subject to rain. Sometimes it can also have a significant impact on the environment when we do not get rain. The dams that provide that source of energy can get very low, and that has significant impacts in other areas.

The report is welcome, but I hope that at some point in time we will see a parliament that is prepared to actually set some targets for renewable energy that will be more representative of a country that really has a commitment to renewable energy per se.

Question agreed to.