From: Rod McGuirk, Associated Press
Published October 25, 2006 12:00 AM

Australian Government Announces Funding for World's Largest Solar Power Plant

CANBERRA, Australia -- The Australian government announced Wednesday it will help build the largest solar power plant in the world as part of a new strategy to combat global warming.

The government, under fire for refusing to sign the Kyoto Protocol on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, will contribute 75 million Australian dollars (US$57 million; euro45 million) to the A$420 million (US$319 million; euro254 million) project to built a 154 megawatts solar power plant in Victoria state which will use mirrored panels to concentrate the sun's rays, Treasurer Peter Costello said.

"The project aims to build the biggest photovoltaic project in the world," Costello told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.

The government also announced A$50 million (US$38 million; euro30 million) funding toward a A$360 million (US$274 million; euro218 million) project to reduce carbon emissions from an existing coal-fired power house in Victoria.

The project aims to reduce pollution in part by capturing and storing emissions from the burning coal.

"This will make a major contribution to emission reduction in Australia and it just shows practical, considered, financially viable, workable technologies which will help us on our way to reduce global warming," Costello said.

The two projects are the first to be funded under a A$500 million (US$379 million; euro300 million) package announced this week to prevent global warming.

While Australia and the United States refused to sign on to Kyoto, both have become founding members the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Energy Development _ which also includes China, Japan, India and South Korea.

The partnership aims to cooperate to find new technologies to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases believed to be warming Earth's atmosphere.

With Australia in the grips of its worst drought in a century, the government is under pressure to do more prevent global warming which its tipped to make the world's driest inhabited continent even drier.

Source: Associated Press

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