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Mon, Dec 15, 2008 - Page 10 News List

Australia brings forward A$500m green energy fund

AGENCIES , SYDNEY

Australia will bring forward millions of dollars in funding for solar and other renewable energy sources, in part to help boost the economy, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said yesterday.

Rudd said the government’s US$500 million renewable energy fund will now be spent over the next 18 months rather than spread over six years as previously planned.

“It’s time for Australia to begin the solar revolution, a renewable energy revolution and we have got to fund it for the future” he told reporters in his home state of Queensland.

“It’s good for jobs. It’s good for stimulus. It’s good for acting on climate change,” Rudd said of the move. “It’s time for Australia to begin a solar revolution, a renewable energy revolution and we’ve got to fund it for the future.”

Rudd made the announcement at the Queensland town of Windorah, where a new solar energy plant is expected to produce around 360,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year and provide the town’s daytime power needs.

Rudd said A$100 million (US$66 million) would be released by June 30, with the remaining A$400 million to be released in the following 12 months.

The only condition, he said in an accompanying statement, was “availability of suitable demonstration projects.” Guidelines would be released early next year, the statement said.

The Renewable Energy Fund, which also includes work on biofuels development and geothermal drilling, was set up to help cut the cost of developing technologies that might play a key role in energy supply and security over the next few decades.

The Australian government is due to reveal today its targets for the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.

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