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Regional solar power systems set to expand

15th Jul 2011

The government has announced plans to assist in the transformation of regional Australia to be more reliant on clean energy.

Regional development has been identified as a crucial part of a push towards technologies such as solar panel systems than can keep regional Australia powered.

$200 million has been pledged over seven years for assistance for regions strongly affected by changes stemming from the carbon pricing scheme.

Employment and training support are included, as well as community development as the entire nation adjusts to being more reliant on renewable energy.

Key Independent MP Tony Windsor believes the clean energy future for rural Australia is bright.

 "The sorts of things that are happening now at Chinchilla and Moree ... solar activities... they're the sorts of employment activities that will be out there in the future," Mr Windsor says.

The government expects that a large percentage of the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation fund will find its way into regional and rural Australia.

The fund has been designed to help businesses make innovative developments in technologies such as solar panels, wind mills and biofuels.

A pre-existing Low Carbon Communities program will be expanded to $330 million.

This will include upgrades to the energy efficiency of council and community buildings and low-income households.

$40 million over five years will go to the Remote Indigenous Energy Program.

This aims to give the indigenous population living in remote communities access to affordable and renewable energy technology.

Emphasis has been placed on the necessity of the program to deliver 24-hour power supply to rural areas.

A $1.3 billion coal sector jobs package has been included for rural communities currently relying on the coal industry.

The government aims to address the emissions issues both in major population centres and regional Australia simultaneously.

It aims to ensure the transformation of rural communities occurs alongside more developed metropolitan areas and that they aren't left behind in the implementation and development of new energy.

The current goal set by the government is for 20 per cent of Australia's electricity supply to be produced from renewable energy sources by 2020.

Implementing solar power into regional communities is crucial as reliance on traditional coal-fire power plants is set to decline.

Regional solar has long been hailed as possessing great potential for large-scale solar systems due to natural exposure to the sun and an abundance of available land.  

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