The renewable energy industry is gearing up with another fight with the Coalition Government, this time over plans to slash $1.3 billion in funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and strip it of the power to disburse grants.
The plan is part of the Turnbull Government’s omnibus repair bill which is currently before Parliament.
The Abbott Government wanted to abolish the agency, but it received a stay of execution in March 2016.
Now the Government wants to strip ARENA of funding and merge its finanancing role with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which expects to see a financial return on money it invests in research.
The Clean Energy Council has published a briefing paper that likens de-funding ARENA to “plunging into the clean energy valley of death”.
Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said the organisation had funded hundreds of projects that would not otherwise have gone ahead, bridging major knowledge gaps across the renewable energyindustry, reducing technology costs and supporting home-grown Australian research and development activities.
Greens leader Richard di Natale has appealed to the Labor Opposition not to support the move.