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Joint Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
Australian Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources
The Hon. Ian Macfarlane MP

5 December 2005

Electricity storage technology solutions sought

Storage solutions for electricity generated by renewable and other intermittent energy sources are being sought under the Australian Government’s Advanced Electricity Storage Technologies programme from today.

Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, and Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources, Ian Macfarlane, this morning called for expressions of interest in the $20.4 million programme as part of a push to overcome barriers to renewable energy use.

“Both wind and solar energy sources are intermittent and cannot be relied on for consistent and predictable energy generation,” Senator Campbell said.

“Renewable energy is an important part of Australia’s energy mix and greenhouse gas reduction strategy. This program, part of the Australian Government’s $1.8 billion climate change strategy, is designed to find ways to reduce the obstacles that prevent renewable energy’s wider use in the Australian electricity grid. The lack of suitable methods for storing large amounts of electricity is one of those obstacles.”

“There would be enormous benefits for Australia’s renewable industry if we could harness electricity from irregular energy sources, store it and release that energy at a later time. This would provide us with a constant and regulated flow of electricity from renewable sources.”

Mr Macfarlane said a larger and more effective storage capacity would give renewable energy generators a better opportunity to expand their resources and sell energy into the Australian electricity grid at optimal periods.

“Electricity from intermittent sources has limited current capacity for Australia’s main grid because it cannot be guaranteed and present electricity storage technology is not mature or commercially viable,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“Through this programme, we’re calling on the expertise of Australian industry to demonstrate world-leading electricity storage technologies and develop creative solutions that will benefit both the electricity storage and renewable energy industries.”

Electricity storage solutions sought under the programme may involve a range of technologies, including battery, electro-mechanical, chemical and thermal storage solutions in either off-grid or on-grid situations.

The Advanced Electricity Storage Technologies programme was announced in the 2004 energy white paper, Securing Australia’s Energy Future. Expressions of interest in the programme close on 13 April 2006.

For more information

Media contact:
Renae Stoikos (Senator Campbell's office) 0418 568 434 - 02 6277 7640
Kirsty Boazman (Mr Macfarlane’s office) 02 6277 7580, 0412 171 444

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