It is crucial that the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has clear and long-term access to grant funding to deliver the renewable energy innovation that will create a 21st century energy system, the Clean Energy Council said today.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said there is a clear case for the Federal Government to provide capital grants through ARENA to support innovation in exciting new renewable energy and battery storage technologies.

“We welcome last night’s commitment from the Australian Labor Party (ALP) for future capital grant funding for ARENA. While it is disappointing that this has not been cemented with a firm budgetary commitment, we look forward to working with the ALP to ensure it delivers the necessary level of funding, should the party be successful at the upcoming election,” Mr Thornton said.

“The ALP’s strong policy commitment of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030 will require additional capital beyond its recent announcement to provide $206.6 million for a targeted concentrated solar thermal funding round and $98.7 million to establish a Community Power Network and regional hubs through ARENA.

“I was pleased to see the ALP support the Coalition’s welcome establishment of a new Clean Energy Innovation Fund (CEIF). This act of bipartisanship builds on the support of all major parties for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the current Renewable Energy Target. This new fund can play an important role in the development of clean energy by providing equity to assist in the development of key clean energy technologies,” he said.

Mr Thornton said the Federal Government’s current position to abolish future ARENA capital grant funding remained disappointing, effectively cutting $1.3 billion from the organisation’s funding over the next decade.

“ARENA cannot build on its excellent track record of creating local employment, developing new industries and businesses in the clean energy supply chain – and bringing down the cost of these technologies through increased efficiency – without an appropriate level of funding,” he said.  

“The end of capital grant funding would negatively affect the development of a range of technologies such as battery storage, large-scale solar, marine energy, sophisticated R&D and initiatives to develop a 21st century energy grid.”

Please contact Clean Energy Council Media Manager Mark Bretherton on 0413 556 981 for more information or to arrange an interview.