Sep 17, 2020

PM’s $1.9b backing for new energy technologies

PM’s $1.9b backing for new energy technologies

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a $1.9 billion investment package in new and emerging energy technologies to lower emissions and support jobs.

It includes an extra $1.62 billion for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to invest, as well as expanding the focus of ARENA and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to back new technologies that will cut emissions in agriculture, manufacturing, industry and transport.

“Australia is in the midst of a world-leading boom in renewable energy with over $30 billion invested since 2017,” Mr Morrison said.

“Solar panels and wind farms are now clearly commercially viable and have graduated from the need for government subsidies and the market has stepped up to invest.

“The Government will now focus its efforts on the next challenge: unlocking new technologies across the economy to help drive down costs, create jobs, improve reliability and reduce emissions. This will support our traditional industries – manufacturing, agriculture, transport – while positioning our economy for the future.

“These investments create jobs and they bring new technologies into play. This will not only cut emissions, but deliver the reliable energy Australia needs while driving down prices for homes and businesses.”

The new package invests in a range of technology advancements including:

  • Setting up a hydrogen export hub worth $70.2 million to scale-up demand and take advantage of the advancements in this low emissions, high powered source of energy
  • Supporting businesses in the agriculture, manufacturing, industrial and transport sectors to adopt technologies that increase productivity and reduce emissions through a new $95.4 million Technology Co-Investment Fund that was recommended by the King Review
  • Piloting carbon capture projects that will dramatically help cut emissions with a $50 million investment in the Carbon Capture Use and Storage Development Fund
  • Helping businesses and regional communities take advantage of opportunities offered by hydrogen, electric, and bio-fuelled vehicles with a new $74.5 million Future Fuels Fund
  • Backing new microgrids in regional and remote communities to deliver affordable, reliable power with $67 million
  • Contributing $52.2 million to increase the energy productivity of homes and businesses, including a sector specific grant program for hotels supporting equipment and facilities upgrades
  • Slashing the time taken to develop new Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) methods from 24 months or more to less than 12 months, involving industry in a co-design process and implementing other recommendations from the King Review into the ERF, worth $24.6 million
  • Boosting energy and emissions data and cyber-security reporting and supporting the delivery of future Low Emissions Technology Statements under the Technology Investment Roadmap process, as well as developing an offshore clean energy project development framework, together worth $40.2 million

The Government will provide ARENA with guaranteed baseline funding of $1.43 billion over 10 years. ARENA’s baseline funding will be supplemented in two ways:

  1. Together with the Clean Energy Regulator, ARENA will be approved to deploy a portion of the $2 billion Climate Solutions Fund; and
  2. ARENA will also become a clean technology grants hub for future initiatives, with a new $193.4 million provided to deploy targeted programs.

The Government will introduce new legislation so ARENA and CEFC can support new and emerging low emissions technologies (including zero and negative emissions technologies). That ensures they will be able to support critical technologies such as soil‑carbon sequestration, carbon capture and storage, production of green-steel, and industrial processes to reduce energy consumption.     

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