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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

31 March 2006

Multi-million dollar investment by Australian Government in new solar technology

Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, today officially opened the $5.3 million National Solar Energy Centre in Newcastle, which demonstrates new solar technology.

Senator Campbell said the Centre would be used to research and demonstrate the innovative use of solar thermal technologies.

“What this Centre proves is that really can find something new under the sun,” Senator Campbell said.

“The Centre’s solar tower will be used to provide temperatures high enough to produce a solar gas that contains over 26 per cent more energy than the natural gas feeding into the system. This solar gas can then be turned into solar hydrogen, enabling solar energy to be stored and transported.

“This is an example of the ground-breaking technology that the Centre will showcase to the world through world-class, collaborative research and demonstration projects.

“At peak operation, the Centre’s technologies will generate enough electricity to power more than 100 homes.”

The Centre is a unique multi-solar collector facility, comprising three main elements:

The linear array and turbine generator combine two technologies to produce low cost electricity powered by the sun – suitable for generating energy in remote areas.

“Australia’s energy demand is expected to double by 2050. It is essential that we meet this demand with low emissions technologies as part of a broader, multi-track approach to addressing climate change – solar energy will be an important part of this mix,” Senator Campbell said.

“Australia has an abundance of renewable energy resources and parts of Australia receive the highest levels of solar radiation on the planet. It is important that we focus on removing the barriers and impediments that prevent more people from using solar technologies.”

The National Solar Energy Centre is an initiative of the CSIRO’s Energy Transformed Flagship, which aims to halve greenhouse gas emissions; double the efficiency of new energy generation, supply and end use; and position Australia for a future hydrogen economy.

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Media Contact:
Renae Stoikos (Senator Campbell's office) 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434

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