Colin Barnett

Colin Barnett


    WA's Greenhouse emissions performance improving

    31/08/2000 9:45 AM

    Western Australia’s greenhouse emissions performance is improving because of an impressive array of renewable energy projects.

    Energy Minister Colin Barnett said today the wind, solar, hydro-electricity and landfill gas systems and individual systems in remote WA had produced some incredible savings.

    Mr Barnett said these systems had saved about 240 million litres of diesel fuel, more than $120 million in fuel costs and the equivalent of 1.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

    Initiatives by the State Government such as the Green Power Policy, the Sustainable Energy Development Fund and Western Power’s NaturalPower product would ensure this performance continued at a faster rate.

    Today, Mr Barnett launched the latest examples of Western Australia’s innovative approach to the development of renewable energy technology:
    • a 20 kilowatt pre-production photovoltaic trough concentrator at the Rockingham campus of Murdoch University; and –
    • the first renewable energy engineering degree in WA.

    Mr Barnett said as one of a handful of such degrees available anywhere in Australia, the Renewable Energy Engineering degree would help overcome a shortage of qualified engineers in the rapidly expanding renewable energy sector.

    He said these two projects were the results of cooperation and collaboration between industry and academia - both within WA and interstate.

    The two projects are further examples of the initiative for which Western Australia was known.

    Currently, renewable sources produced less than one per cent of electricity generated in WA.

    “The State Government’s Green Power Policy, Sustainable Energy Development Fund and additional renewable energy projects will push this figure to 4.5 per cent within the next decade,” the Minister said.

    “The policy encourages the development of renewable energy projects and gives Western Australians the opportunity to purchase their electricity from renewable sources.

    “The Sustainable Energy Development Fund will provide up to $1 million a year to help independent power producers develop new renewable energy projects.”

    Mr Barnett said the new Murdoch University degree course in renewable energy engineering was a showcase for industry-university co-operation.

    The degree was the result of close collaboration between Western Power - which was a leader in the field of renewable energy - the Alternative Energy Development Board, the University of NSW and Murdoch University.

    Mr Barnett said the photovoltaic trough concentrator system, featuring 40 pairs of parabolic mirrors which concentrate the sunlight by a factor of 25 to feed electricity into Western Power’s main grid, cost about $1 million to produce in this pre-production format.

    “The Australian National University developed the technology and Solarhart Industries is commercialising the technology with the hope of creating further economic benefits for Western Australia,” he said.

    Media contact: Diana Callander 9222 9699