Monday, 9 November 2009

Australia Awards Funds to Renewable Energy Projects
Nov. 6

The Australian government has awarded A$235 million ($214 million) to four companies to spur the development of renewable energy technologies as it seeks to reduce carbon pollution. Petratherm Ltd., GeoDynamics Ltd., Victorian Wave Partners Pty Ltd, and Hydro Tasmania won funding, Energy and Resources Minister Martin Ferguson said in Canberra today. Australia, the world's biggest exporter of coal, is pursuing a target of deriving 20% of its power from clean energy by 2020. The government's Renewable Energy Demonstration Program is designed to spark the commercial use of emerging ocean, geothermal and other technologies. "These projects will diversify Australia's energy supply and help deliver the governments" renewable energy target, Ferguson said.

Petratherm rose as much as 31% in Sydney trading after the announcement, the most in almost seven months. GeoDynamics rose as much as 16%, the most since March. Carnegie Corporation Energy Ltd., whose bid for funding failed, dropped as much as 28%, the largest decline since January 2008. Petratherm will receive A$63 million, GeoDynamics A$90 million, Victorian Wave A$66 million and Hydro Tasmania A$15 million, the government said. Funds from the companies combined with the government money will lead to A$810 million of investment in renewable energy, delivering about 80 MWs of new power generation, Ferguson said.

Investec Funding
Investec Ltd., a South African investment bank, said it would provide as much as A$250 million to Carnegie Corporation if it secured the government funds and achieved other goals, the companies said in April. "We are disappointed with the outcome," Michael Ottaviano, managing director of Carnegie Corporation, said in a statement. "We will continue to develop our Garden Island project with the support of the Western Australian government's A$12.5 million grant and then look to develop at our international sites where there is significant support for wave energy."

The government had considered 36 applications, Ferguson's spokesman Michael Bradley said last month. Some A$135 million of money originally allocated to the renewable energy program was transferred to fund solar energy projects. Remaining money from the program will be managed by the Australian Center for Renewable Energy. GeoDynamics and Petratherm are developers of hot-rock geothermal projects. Victorian Wave is focused on ocean energy technology, while Hydro Tasmania aims to integrate wind, solar and storage technologies to reduce reliance on diesel generators, according to the government.