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Australia takes the lead in greenhouse industry development.

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Ministerial Council on Greenhouse

Senator the Hon Robert Hill, Minister for the Environment 

Senator the Hon Nick Minchin, Minister for Industry, Science and Resources 

The Hon Mark Vaile, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry


Wednesday, 7 April 1999 

Embargoed to 11.30am

Australia takes the lead in greenhouse industry development

The Federal Government has announced a further $6 million in funding to help Australian industry lead the world in developing technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Announcing the grants at the site of a proposed solar cell manufacturing plant at Queanbeyan NSW, Environment Minister Senator Robert Hill said the projects would help put Australia at the forefront in developing its renewable energy industry.

"All of the projects have enormous potential both here and overseas and will us take a further step towards meeting our Kyoto commitment to source an additional 2% of electricity from renewable sources by 2010," Senator Hill said.

"The majority are located outside the major cities so they also offer considerable opportunities for regional Australia."

The grants are being made available under the Australian Greenhouse Office's Renewable Energy Commercialisation Program which targets innovative projects with strong commercial potential.

Projects include a tidal power station at Derby, WA to supply electricity to nearby communities and a prototype for a wave energy generator at Newcastle or Port Kembla NSW. Several of the projects look at improving solar cell and battery technology including a vanadium battery energy storage system in Melbourne and the manufacture of titanium solar photovoltaic cells in Queanbeyan.

The program is part of the Commonwealth Government's total commitment of almost $45 million in competitive grants over the next five years for the commercialisation of renewable energy technologies.

Summaries of the successful RECP projects are attached.


Carol Bartley, Australian Greenhouse Office, 02 6274 1859 or 0412 994 800 

Kate Schulze, Senator Minchin's Office, 02 6277 7580 or 0419 432 664 

Rod Bruem, Senator Hill's Office, 02 6277 7640 or 0411 128 582


RECP Round 1 Grants - April 1999

A $1-million grant will allow Western Power Corporation and its partners to build an Integrated Wood Processing demonstration plant at Narrogin producing 1MW of renewable energy into the main electricity grid in the south west of Western Australia. Harvesting locally grown mallee, the plant will generate electricity while producing eucalyptus oil and converting wood to activated carbon through a process developed by the CSIRO. The project involves collaboration between Western Power Corporation, the Oil Mallee Company, CALM, and Enecon Pty Ltd.  

Contact: Adrian Chegwidden, Western Power Corporation, 08 9326 4902

Sustainable Technologies Australia Ltd has received a grant of $1,000,000 to construct the world's first Titania Solar Cell and Wall Panels manufacturing facility in the New South Wales city of Queanbeyan. The project aims to manufacture 100 square metres of Titania solar wall panels for trial and demonstration purposes. Titania solar wall panels will be cheap to produce when manufactured at full volume.  

Contact: Sylvia Tulloch, 02 6299 1592

Derby Hydro Power has received a $1-million grant to construct a 48 MW tidal power station near Derby to supply electricity to Derby, Broome, Fitzroy Crossing and the Western Metals lead and zinc mine at Pillara. The project will take advantage of the flow from a high tidal range around 10 metres. It will provide continuous electricity output from the flow of water between the high and low basins which the barrages maintain in two adjacent creeks.  

Contact: Peter Wood, Derby Hydro Power, 08 9481 4588

Biomass Energy Services and Technology Pty Ltd (BEST) and Reneco Engineering Pty Ltd jointly received a grant of $850,000 to install two briqueting plants at the Mugga Lane landfill site in Canberra. One plant will provide clean burning fuel for a cogeneration plant to produce up to 300kW of renewable energy for sale to ACT customers. The other plant will produce a high quality fuel for domestic heating, barbecue and power markets.  

Contacts: Stephen Joseph, BEST, 02 4340 4911, Tony Esplin, Reneco Engineering P/L 0419 264 001

A grant of $750,000 has been made to Energetech Australia Pty Ltd to construct a 300kWp generator on the breakwater at Newcastle or Port Kembla for converting ocean wave energy into electricity. It's aimed at demonstrating that wave energy can be a commercially viable renewable energy source. The project will mark the first step in commercialising an innovative renewable energy technology which has been designed and developed in Australia.  

Contact: Dr Tom Denniss 0414 612 472

Pinnacle VRB Ltd in Melbourne has received $700,000 for its project to deliver a technically and commercially competitive alternative to the currently dominant lead acid battery technology. The project will re-package the existing Vanadium redox battery technology into an integrated energy storage system to meet the specific needs of both remote area power supplies and industrial photovoltaics markets.  

Contact: Dr Malcolm Jacques, Pinnacle VRB Ltd, 03 9824 8166

The Sydney based company, Solarex Pty Ltd has received a grant of $482,000 to upgrade the company's current multicrystalline solar cell fabrication facility by implementing laboratory processing improvements into the commercial cell production. The new techniques are designed to increase cell efficiency to 17% from a present typical efficiency of 12.5%, ultimately resulting in a 36% increase in capacity from the plant without increasing production or silicon consumption. As a result of the work, the manufactured cost per watt for solar energy would be reduced by 27%.  

Contact: Anthony Leo, Solarex Pty Ltd, 02 9727 4455

A consortium of Environment ACT, TT Architecture, Northrop Engineers and Solahart Industries Pty Ltd has been awarded a $120,000 grant toward the incorporation of renewable energy technologies in the construction of the Tidbinbilla Visitor Centre. With assistance from the ACTEW Corporation, the consortium is developing a solar demonstration project that sets new standards for energy efficiency in a public building. A major feature of the design is solar panels that generate hot water which is then piped throughout the building to provide space heating. Apart from achieving significant reductions in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions the ongoing monitoring of building performance will provide the building industry with improved data on both the initial and whole of life costs of the project.  

Contact: Rod Baxter, Environment ACT, 02 6207 2204