NEW OFFICE OF SOLAR ENERGY AND $30 MILLION BOOST TO DRIVE DEVELOPMENT OF RENEWABLE ENERGY

NEW OFFICE OF SOLAR ENERGY AND $30 MILLION BOOST TO DRIVE DEVELOPMENT OF RENEWABLE ENERGY

Posted on 31. Aug, 2010 in Greening Victoria

A new Office of Solar Energy and a $30 million boost to support renewable energy technology will drive new investment and the development of cleaner energy in Victoria, Premier John Brumby announced today.

Visiting Solar System’s factory in Abbotsford with Energy and Resources Minister Peter Batchelor, Mr Brumby said the $30 million funding boost would support the development of alternative energy technologies.

“This initiative is about partnering with industry to develop the technologies needed for the future to deliver clean energy for Victorian households,” Mr Brumby said.

“Our Government is rising to the challenge of climate change, supporting new initiatives to cut emissions and creating a climate of new economic opportunity.  

“The funding will be available for parties interested in developing pilot-scale demonstration projects or research and development proposals for sustainable energy technologies in areas such as solar, wave, geothermal and bio-energy.”

Mr Brumby said the Victorian Government had committed to cut emissions by at least 20 per cent by 2020 and increase the amount of electricity supply from renewable energy.

“The results delivered from these grants will help us produce and operate the technologies we need to make renewable energy sources commercially viable,” he said.

The grants are part of alternative energy initiatives announced in the Victorian Government’s Climate Change White Paper and include $5 million for projects specifically in the Latrobe Valley as part of the Latrobe Valley Advantage Fund. Grant applications are open until September 30.

In addition to the $30 million fund, Mr Brumby announced a new Office of Solar Energy to bring together under one umbrella the extensive work being done on solar energy in Victoria.

“This new office will become the first point of contact for industry, small business, the community and educational institutes looking for information about Victoria’s solar potential and work already underway,” Mr Brumby said.

“The Office is another important step in positioning Victoria as a global player in solar development. It will be particularly important for assisting potential investors to access information about our comprehensive range of support programs for solar energy.”

Mr Batchelor said the new office would run through the Department of Primary Industries, providing a first point of contact for solar programs being run by various government agencies.

“International interest in Government-supported programs, intense competition for the $100 million Victorian Large Scale Solar Program tender and companies investigating opportunities in regional Victoria, demonstrates huge interest in our solar potential,” Mr Batchelor said.

“Work underway in Victoria includes mapping of the best locations for solar plants and grant programs to encourage solar energy development. We need to champion these efforts under one banner and that will be the Office of Solar Energy.”

Mr Brumby and Mr Batchelor visited the Solar Systems’ factory to inspect a solar receiver and dish due to be transported to the company’s pilot solar station at Bridgewater.

“The solar receiver and dish have been produced at the factory and are a great example of how we are making progress in developing the expertise and technology needed to harness our huge solar potential,” Mr Batchelor said.

Mr Batchelor also announced the appointment of a Medium Scale Solar Working Group, which will examine current barriers to investment and what additional measures are required to encourage the use of solar energy in Victoria.

The working group will be chaired by Tony Wood, Director, Clean Energy Program of the William J Clinton Foundation, which was set up by former US President Bill Clinton to focus on worldwide issues such as climate change.

Other members include technical experts in the solar and finance industries as well as representatives from the unions, the commercial building sector and the community:

  • Ian Porter – Alternative Technologies Association
  • Cameron O’Reilly – Energy Retailers Association of Australia
  • Andrew Blyth – Energy Networks Association
  • Peter Lunt – Vic Super
  • Dean Mighell –  Electrical Trades Union
  • Mark Twidell – Australian Solar Institute
  • Mark Clover – ANZ
  • Rod Menzies – Clean Energy Council
  • Damon Moloney – Green Buildings Council

For more information on Victoria’s solar energy programs and resource visit the Office of Solar Energy Victoria website at www.dpi.vic.vic.gov.au/solar

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