Australia's Renewable Energy Act comes into force

Posted: 14 June 2001

Australia has taken a major step toward cutting greenhouse gas emissions with new renewable energy regulations that came into effect in April 2001. The new regulations are expected to spark a $2 billion investment boom in renewable energy projects.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill said "We are already taking significant steps to reach our Kyoto target with $1 billion already targeted through specific programmes to reduce greenhouse emissions. The new regulations coming into force are also a part of that response.

"This world-leading legislation will stimulate a whole range of new renewable energy generation from large-scale wind farms to very small renewable energy systems to solar water heaters. Energy suppliers will be required to source an additional two per cent of their power from renewable sources. That's enough energy to supply the residential electricity needs of a city of four million people."

This latest decision follows widespread criticism of Australia's foot dragging at the Kyoto Conference on global warming in 1997 when the government negotiated an increase in carbon emissions of 8 per cent by 2010, while most developed countries promised a cut. Australia argued that 'special conditions' such as land clearing and its reliance on coal for energy affected its ability to reduce emissions.

Further information about the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 is available from the Australian Greenhouse Office.