Audit of renewables sales

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The number of customers buying green power in Australia more than doubled to 18,362 last year, but only two percent of the green electrons were generated from solar and wind technologies, an independent audit of Australia's national green marketing programs has revealed. The audit was commissioned by the Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA), which overseas the accreditation of nine power retailers in the states of New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.

Biomass electricity sales accounted for 18% of the total, while the remaining 80% was sourced from hydro-mainly the giant Snowy River Hydro Scheme. SEDA has said retailers must meet a target of 60% new renewables in their green power sales by December 31. By June last year, the audit found, new generators accounted for 21% of the total.

Only three of the nine green power retailers recorded a profit, says the audit. The other retailers suffered losses due to the development of new sources of green power during the initial growth of their programs. Currently, the estimated number of green power customers in Australia now stands at about 22,000-a figure equal to about 1% of total customers in New South Wales. The NSW energy minister, Bob Debus, is using the audit as proof that his state is "successfully moving towards a sustainable energy future." Debus recently announced 14 new state supported research projects into renewable technologies, none of them wind.

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