A group of leaders in clean energy innovation has signed an open letter calling on the Australian Parliament to protect the funding of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), which is under threat if the Federal Government’s omnibus budget savings bill is passed.

A group of leaders in clean energy innovation has signed an open letter calling on the Australian Parliament to protect the funding of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), which is under threat if the Federal Government’s omnibus budget savings bill is passed.

“Investment confidence would be again undermined if one of the first moves of the new parliament is to cut funding to Australia’s key clean energy agency. This would damage Australia’s reputation and unsettle investors, again,” says the letter, which was released by the Clean Energy Council today.

“Clean energy is one of Australia’s best opportunities for jobs, growth and innovation. ARENA’s ability to deliver new grant programs is at risk with legislation before the Australian Parliament that would substantially cut its future funding. While we respect the fiscal challenges facing the government and the nation, we believe that cutting ARENA’s budget would be short-sighted.”

Approximately $1.3 billion of the agency’s grant funding is at risk under the Federal Government’s omnibus bill. Slashing the agency’s grant funding would be at odds with the government’s innovation agenda and a reversal of the Australian Labor Party’s long-standing support for the agency.

The companies that have signed the open letter include AGL, GE, Tesla, engineering company ABB, Vestas, Goldwind, Pacific Hydro, Suntrix, Conergy, First Solar and Infigen Energy.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said the innovation and technological improvements delivered by ARENA funding had helped reduce renewable energy and storage costs and leveraged hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment to date.

“The innovations that ARENA is funding today will power the engine of tomorrow’s economy. The grants provided by the agency are modest investments that will lead to the jobs and investment of the future,” Mr Thornton said.

“Hundreds of projects have been funded to date, and hundreds more are needed if we are to transform Australia’s energy system at the lowest possible cost to consumers.”

Mr Thornton said ARENA had clearly demonstrated its effectiveness and called on Australia’s politicians to get behind the agency and the important work it was doing to accelerate the next generation of clean energy for the benefit of everyone.

The full open letter is available on the Clean Energy Council website.

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