tuesday, june 15, 2004. 6:11am (aest)
energy package tipped to focus on coal. (abc tv)
govt to invest in 'green' energy
prime minister john howard is expected to reveal a $500 million plan to encourage the private sector to develop energy technologies that release low levels of greenhouse gases today.
mr howard will unveil the government's energy white paper in canberra as parliament returns for its final session before the winter break.
the white paper will set out the direction of the nation's energy policy and its centrepiece is a $500 million investment fund for low-emissions technologies.
the white paper is expected to include more than $100 million to help companies commercialise renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar power.
but it is understood mr howard will not lift the current mandatory renewable energy target.
the policy is expected to focus on the coal industry and a large part of the fund may be spent on a new technology called geosequestration, which reduces emissions from coal-fired power stations.
it involves compressing the carbon dioxide produced by the stations into a liquid and pumping it 800 metres underground.
australia's chief scientist, robin batterham, supports the project, saying carbon dioxide can be stored safely underground for tens of thousands of years.
but greens senator bob brown says renewable energy would be a better investment.
"it's unproven technology," senator brown told abc tv's lateline
. "it's got great hazards attached to it.
"but we've got proven technology in solar power in particular and that doesn't run a risk.
"this doesn't create the hazard of having to put some polluting gas somewhere into a hole in the ground."