MONDAY 25 FEBRUARY, 2008 |
Queensland funds business and research energy grants
The Queensland Government is providing $100 million towards two clean
energy packages. Premier Anna Bligh, Energy Minister Geoff Wilson and
Climate Minister Andrew McNamara have urged business and researchers to
carefully examine the $50 million Smart Energy Savings Fund and the
$50 million Renewable Energy Fund. “We need to use less energy and we need
to find more sources of energy,” says Bligh.
“These funds will encourage both,” she says. “We’re putting our money on the
table addressing the real threat to our environment. Queensland’s leading the
way we want businesses and researchers to climb on board,” adds Bligh. The
State Government has set a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to
60 per cent below Queensland’s 2000 levels by 2050.
According to Bligh, Queensland’s efforts must focus on two fronts – reducing
energy use and searching for new energy sources. “It’s simple. We want
businesses to boost their investment in energy saving projects and
technologies, and we’re putting up $50 million to help them,” says Bligh.
Wilson says the Smart Energy Savings Fund will be available to businesses and
applications will be sought twice a year. “We’ll provide loans for up to 100 per
cent of the project’s value or a grant that will cover up to half the project’s
capital value. Some projects may be big, some small. We’ll not discriminate
because together, they’ll have the potential to save tens of thousands of tonnes
of greenhouse emissions,” Wilson says. The Renewable Energy Fund is
offering financial incentives to help fuel Queensland into the 21st Century,
according to Wilson.
“We want clever companies to come forward with their ideas so that we can
help turn their vision into reality,” he says. Bligh says $7 million from the fund is
going towards a ground-breaking, solar thermal power station in Cloncurry as
an ideal example of how the fund could be used. “Cloncurry recorded the
country’s hottest day – 53 degrees in the shade in 1889 – and that’s where
solar thermal makes sense. It’s the ideal solution,” Bligh says.
Wilson says the Renewable Energy Fund investment will help the state secure
its share of the national 20 per cent of renewable energy target by 2020. “The
Renewable Energy Fund will help industry come up with innovative energy
conservation solutions in areas like geothermal, wind, solar, biomass, bagasse
and other renewable energy sources.
“We’re looking at technologies that can generate at least 100 kW, industrial
power projects with a carbon-neutral emissions profile and innovations that can
produce a reliable electricity supply and meet local energy supply needs,” says
Funding can be in the form of a loan for up to 100 per cent of the project’s value
or as a grant for up to half of the project’s capital cost, according to the State
Government. McNamara says more efficient use of energy is an important step
forward in the State Government’s strategy to address climate change.
“Energy efficiency represents some of the most cost effective and often cost
neutral greenhouse gas abatement opportunities across the economy,” he says.
The first funding round closes for the Smart Energy Savings Fund and the
Renewable Energy Fund are 12 and 26 May 2008 respectively.
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