Injection of clean energy technologies

Friday, 03 February, 2006

The Australian Wind Energy Association (Auswind) has welcomed an announcement from the Howard government declaring that the debate over climate change is over.

Environment Minister Ian Campbell made the announcement recently during a visit to the Tarkine forest in Tasmania, where he stated that Australia needs a "massive injection" of clean energy technologies, including wind power, in order to combat the serious effects of climate change.

Auswind's CEO, Dominique La Fontaine, said that the government's comments sent a strong message of support to the wind energy industry. "It is reassuring to hear the Howard government confirm that Australia needs to move forward with a far greater portfolio of readily available clean energy technologies," said La Fontaine.

The Australian wind energy industry has been increasingly concerned by the stalling of investment in renewable energy projects resulting from the Howard government's decision not to expand or extend the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET) at the previous federal election.

The target, which is the key mechanism to encourage the uptake of 23 renewable energy technologies in Australia, is expected to be filled within 12 months, leaving over 5000 megawatts (MW) of potential wind energy projects stranded, as well as many other renewable energy projects.

"Wind energy is a proven, mainstream energy technology which already has the power to make a significant difference to Australia's greenhouse gas emissions," said La Fontaine. "The Australian wind energy industry has close to 6000 MW of projects in the pipeline which are predicted to offset more than 20 million tonnes of harmful emissions - the equivalent of taking close to five million cars off our roads each year."

These projects are also expected to generate enough electricity to power in excess of three million households, which is the equivalent amount of electricity required to power every household in New South Wales and South Australia combined.

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