Government climate announcement encouraging, but we still need a wider plan to transition to clean energy and decarbonise our economy Media Release

Mar 23, 2016 - 11:45am

The Climate Institute welcomed news that the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) would be maintained, with questions about ARENA’s funding, but said the next challenge was to take steps to modernize and decarbonise our energy system.

“While the announcement of the decade-long $1 billion Clean Energy Innovation Fund, combined with the preservation of the CEFC and ARENA, is certainly very welcome, the biggest hurdle to clean energy innovation and deployment remains our aging and inefficient fleet of coal burning power stations,” CEO, John Connor, said.

“Australia needs an orderly but urgent transition from an energy system reliant on burning coal to one based on clean energy within two decades.”

Connor said that this announcement was a welcome step forward by the Turnbull government but said questions remained about the future of the important grant making role of ARENA.

“ARENA plays an important role in bringing forward Australian innovations and it should retain the full benefit of grants, as well as debt and equity, to mobilise innovation. The announcement today has little detail about the capacity of ARENA to make grants,” he said.

“It would be a big mistake to lose ARENA’s grant making lever. In addition, the government will have to deal with the legislative fact that it should be putting $1.3 billion into that task.”

To help achieve the global warming goals agreed to by the government and other leaders in Paris, Connor said Australia needs climate, energy and other policies to achieve an economy with net zero emissions or below by 2050. He said transforming our energy system is the number one priority in that task.

While today’s announcement is positive, more challenges remain if Australia is to have credible climate and energy policy.

For more information
Brinsley Marlay ● Media Manager ● 0422 140 555

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