Fuel and Energy Minister Geoff Gallop today encouraged Western Australians to consider the potential economic benefits from energy conservation and the use of renewable energy sources.
Dr Gallop was opening the Perth Zoo's 'Harmony Farm' renewable energy project.
He said the Harmony Farm project demonstrated energy management practices that could be adopted by individuals or communities to conserve energy and reduce power bills.
The project uses wind and solar power to generate electricity and has incorporated passive solar design principles in the building of a farmhouse. It was made possible by a grant from the Renewable Energy Advisory Council (REAC).
Dr Gallop said $1.5 million dollars was being spent each year in Western Australia by Government agencies working in the areas of renewable energy and energy conservation.
Government initiatives included:
· renewable energy 'buy-back tariffs' which allow people generating energy from renewable sources to sell the energy to SECWA;
· approval to extend the Esperance wind farm;
· schemes within both the public and private sectors for the purchase of energy efficient equipment; and,
· grants and interest-free loans announced in 'The Social Advantage' to low-income families to help them buy energy-saving and efficient devices.
"REAC is currently investigating various scenarios for alternative energy sources in a bid to identify potential hurdles to the introduction of substantially greater amounts of renewable energy and energy-efficient techniques," Dr Gallop said.
"The findings will help the Government's long-term planning for renewable energy systems such as those demonstrated at Harmony Farm."