Wind popular in New South Wales

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Green power is proving to be a popular choice in New South Wales. The number of customers buying electricity from renewable sources of energy doubled from 18,000 in 1997/98 to 45,000 in 1998/99, while total energy sales increased to 136,000 MWh from 40,000 MWh in the same period, or from A$2.4 million to $6.7 million, reports the state's Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA). What's more, a main aim of the SEDA green power program -- stimulating new generation -- was also achieved. New generation purchases increased from 19,000 MWh to 129,000 MWh from three new wind projects, 22 new solar, five biomass and two hydro, according to SEDA. The program's overheads dropped from an average 27% of overall expenditure to 23%. One of the green power products on offer is Energex's "EarthChoice" program. According to the company's Helen Harding, it is "the most successful per capita scheme in Australia." Uptake is significantly above expectations and has forced three re-forecasts over the past 18 months, she says. Ten thousand households and 100 commercial customers subscribe to EarthChoice, which offers customers the option of buying 100% renewables power. The success of the scheme is put down to Energex's commitment to it and the desire of Queenslanders to do the right thing by the environment. EarthChoice is audited by Price Waterhouse with accreditation coming from SEDA, an agency of the New South Wales government.

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