The Sustainable Energy Development Authority of NSW [SEDA] was constituted under the Sustainable Energy Development Act 1995 [Act No.96, 1995] (1). This Act was assented to on 21 December 1995, and proclaimed to commence on 9 February 1996 (2). Ms Catherine Zoi was appointed Executive Director on 13 May 1996 (3) , but it appears that SEDA did not become fully operational until August 1996. (4) The aim of the Sustainable Energy Development Act was
The objects of the Act were to be achieved via the establishment of:
a) A Sustainable Energy Development Authority, which was to "exercise functions in relation to the development, commercialisation, promotion and use of sustainable energy technology";
b) A Sustainable Energy Advisory Council, which would advise the Minister and the Authority on the provision of assistance to persons engaged in "development, commercialisation, promotion and use of sustainable energy technology"; (6)
c) A Sustainable Energy Fund, administered by the Authority, which would provide the finances to those approved persons (7).
The objectives of the Sustainable Energy Development Authority were to bring about a reduction of the adverse by-products of energy use and to facilitate the development, commercialisation, promotion and use of sustainable energy technologies impeded by the lack of appropriate information, finance or other barriers (8). The Authority was to investigate and engage in these matters and also advise and assist persons engaged in this activity (9). This was to be achieved within the guidelines set by a Corporate Plan developed by the Authority.
The Corporate Plan was to cover a period of three years. A Draft Plan was to be developed by the Authority and submitted to the Minister for comment at least three months before the commencement of the Plan period (10). The Corporate Plan outlined the objectives of the Authority along with the means to achieve and assess those objectives for example incentive schemes. The Plan was to also state the current level and status of sustainable energy technology within the State, and projected effects if the objectives of the Corporate Plan were met (11). The Authority was to allow public consultation of the Draft Plan and ensure the current Corporate Plan was publicly available at its offices (12).
The first Draft Plan was advertised for public comment on 29 March 1996, ahead of the 1 January 1997 deadline set for the commencement of the first Corporate Plan. (13, 14)
By mid 1998 the aims of SEDA were described as follows:
To address market barriers to industries that manufactured, supplied or installed sustainable energy technologies or services and to assist them to gain recognition and to become commercially competitive;
To provide customers with an improved quality and range of energy services:
To facilitate reduced energy service costs and to decrease the cost of energy to customers:
To encourage the development of employment and export opportunities in sustainable energy businesses; and
To provide reliable, useful and timely information and advice to consumers, related bodies and Government on the commercial application of sustainable energy technologies. (15)
By June 1998 six teams reported to the Executive Director of SEDA. These were the Sustainable Energy Supply Team; Commercial and Industrial Energy Efficiency Team; Domestic Energy Efficiency Team; Communications and Marketing Team; Policy Development Team and the Business Services Team . (16)
During the period of the SEDA Corporate Plan 1997-1999 the Authority introduced "Energy Smart" Programs to encourage efficient energy use and "Green Power" and "Renewable Investment" Programs for development of renewable energy projects (17). Schemes operating during the SEDA Corporate Plan 2000-2002 included the SEDA Scholarship for employing students and the SEDA Prize for Environmental Journalism (18, 19).
The Authority could participate in joint ventures, private and subsidiary companies and enter into financial guarantees to achieve its aims upon approval by the Minister. It could also form private companies, but not subsidiary companies (20). Loans and grants were provided to assist businesses and individuals involved in the activities of renewable energy and cogeneration. By April 2001 the Cogeneration Investment Program had resulted in the investment of $1.5AU million in projects at the Broadwater Sugar Mill, Australian Technology Park, Macquarie University and Sutherland Leisure Centre (21).
Some of the programs initiated by SEDA were as follows:
*Energy Smart Homes launched in 1997 assisted Local Government to develop energy efficient housing policy for new homes
**Green Power Accreditation Program that commenced in NSW in 1997 encouraged investment in renewable non-coal fired energy sources by ensuring a prescribed amount of renewable energy was purchased following the sale of each accredited product. This program was adopted throughout Australia in 2000 (22)
***The Australian Building Greenhouse Rating commencing in 1999 that encouraged the reduction of greenhouse emissions in the commercial office sector
****SEDA WindBusiness commencing in 2002 provided information to assist developers in selecting sites for development of wind farms in NSW
The Sustainable Energy Development Repeal Act 2004 (Act No 64, 2004) abolished the Sustainable Energy Development Authority from 1 July 2004 and its functions were transferred to the Department of Energy, Utilities and Sustainability. (23)
(1) Sustainable Energy Development Act 1995 (Act No. 96, 1995), Part 2.
(2) NSW Government Gazette, 9 February 1996, p. 569.
(3) NSW Government Gazette No. 61 17 Ma7 1996 p. 2312
(4) NSW Government Directory 1998 p. 153
(5) Sustainable Energy Development Act 1995 (Act No. 96, 1995), s. 4 (1).
(6) ibid., s. 4 (2) and s. 22.
(7) ibid., s. 4 (2) and s. 23.
(8) ibid., s. 6.
(9) ibid., s. 7 (1).
(10) ibid., s. 9 (1 and 2).
(11) ibid., s. 9 (5).
(12) ibid., s. 9 (3) and s. 10.
(13) ibid., s. 9 (7).
(14) NSW Government Gazette, 29 March 1996, p. 1362.
(15) Report of the Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA) for the year ended 30 June 1998 p. 6
(16) Ibid. p. 9
(17) NSW Government Gazette, 2 July 1999, p. 4698.
(18) Sustainable Energy Development Authority website, "SEDA About Us: The SEDA Scholarship",
(19) ibid., "SEDA About Us: The SEDA Prize",
(20) Sustainable Energy Development Act 1995 (Act No. 96, 1995), s. 12 and s. 13.
(21) Sustainable Energy Development Authority website, "SEDA Renewable Energy & Cogeneration: Cogeneration",
(22) Report of the Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA) for the year ended 30 June 2004 p. 10- 12
(23) Sustainable Energy Development Repeal Act 2004 s. 2 and Schedule 1