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Launch of the Sustainable Energy Industry Association of Australia, Canberra, 25 May 1999\n



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Senator Nick Minchin

Minister for Industry, Science and Resources

 

 

Launch of the Sustainable Energy Industry Association of Australia,

Canberra, 25 May 1999

 

Good morning ladies and gentlemen.

It is a pleasure to be here to launch the Sustainable Ener gy Industry Association of Australia.

Today’s launch is an exciting milestone for this industry.

The decision to form a peak body for Australia’s sustainable energy industry shows vision and maturity.

It is a vote for a coherent and focused approach to the development of this industry.

To those of you here today who were involved in the formation of the Sustainable Energy Industry Association, I extend my congratulations.

As a member of the Ministerial Council on Greenhouse, I have a keen interest in the sustainable energy sector.

A key driver for this sector is our commitment to achieving a mandatory two per cent increase in the uptake of renewable and specified waste product energy in grid-based power application in Australia by 2010.

To put this into perspective, this is equivalent to two Snowy Mountains hydro-electric schemes — or the replication of Tasmania’s entire power generation capacity. It is no small task.

It has been estimated that an investment of some $2 to $4 billion in new generating capacity will be needed between now and 2010 to achieve this target.

Virtually all of this investment will take place in regional Australia.

Already we are seeing the benefits for regional Australia from the renewable energy industry.

The Renewable Energy Showcase grants announced last year are expected to drive some $70 million of investments in projects like the Sugar Mill cogeneration plant in Rocky Point in Queensland; a solar thermal power station near Lake Macquarie; a solar thermal power plant in Rockhampton; a waste energy plant in Wollongong; and wind turbines at Denham near Shark Bay in Western Australia.

The Renewable Energy Commercialisation grants announced in April include support for a solar project in Queanbeyan; a biomass project in Narrogin in Western Australia; a tidal power station in Derby; methane landfill in Canberra; and wave power in Port Kembla and Newcastle.

Employment and trade

The industry currently employs around 6,000 people with a turnover of some $850 million. Most of this economic activity and employment is in wood heaters and hydro-electricity production. But there will be significant domestic opportunities for domestic sales arising from our two per cent target.

We also need to take full advantage of the export opportunities as other countries look more towards renewable energy resources.

Solar hot water heaters, photovoltaic systems and consultancy services account for most of the $100 million currently earned from renewable energy exports.

The challenge for industry, government and the community is how to turn our obvious capabilities in renewable energy into one of Australia’s world-class multi-billion dollar industries that attracts investment and creates jobs for Australia.

Government

The Government is committed to bringing about more sustainable development and energy practices.

Australia has accepted its responsibility to be part of a global response to this challenge and the Government has provided research resources to keep Australia at the forefront of developments in Greenhouse science.

The broader community expects it, and it is our responsibility to future generations, to deliver it.

The Prime Minister’s 1997 statement, Safeguarding the Future: Australia’s Response to Climate Change, outlined the Government’s plan to help build a stronger renewable energy industry.

Our initiatives have included funding for:

•  a $29.6 million Renewable Energy Commercialisation Program to support initiatives with strong commercial potential;

• a $30 million Renewable Energy Equity Fund to address venture capital concerns in the industry;

• a $10 million Renewable Energy Showcase program to demonstrate renewable energy technologies; and

• $300,000 to develop of a Renewable Energy Internet site which will be a major education tool on various renewable technologies and help overcome market failures.

These programs are managed by the Australian Greenhouse Office.

We are also developing an industry Action Agenda, to be known as the Emerging and Renewable Energy Action Agenda, to encourage the uptake of renewable energy in Australia.

It will facilitate b etter consultation between industry and Government.

It will also help us to address industry development issues such as how to attract world class investment and address market impediments, both domestically and overseas.

As a further sign of the Governmen t’s commitment to the sustainable energy industry’s development, I am pleased to announce today, that the Ministerial Council on Greenhouse will provide $100,000 to the Sustainable Energy Industry Association over two years to support a range of industry development activities.

The work of this association will, I am sure, make a major contribution towards policies for the development of a sustainable energy industry in Australia.

Ladies and gentlemen, in closing I would like applaud the formation of the Sustainable Energy Industries Association.

I look forward to working with its members, so that Australia plays an active role on the world stage in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

I now have pleasure in officially launching the Sustainable Industries Association of Australia.

Thank you

 

 

jy  1999-08-23  14:19