Budget Steals from CPRS to Pay for REFF
The government will invest more than $652 million over four years in a Renewable Energy Future Fund to drive the development and deployment of clean energy technologies. Households will also be encouraged to become more energy efficient. It will be paid for, according to media reports, from the almost $3 billion worth of savings gained by the deferral of legislation for the emissions trading scheme, the CPRS.
Christian Kerr in The Australian 12 May 2010:
THE government will invest more than $652 million over four years in a Renewable Energy Future Fund to drive the development and deployment of clean energy technologies.
The renewables industry has warned that with no carbon price to drive investment, hopes for new, commercially viable sources of clean energy will wither on the vine if the government does not provide additional financial support for the sector.
The government hopes to assuage their concerns with the new fund, designed to support the nation’s transition to a low-pollution economy ahead of the start of an emissions trading scheme. It will be paid for from the almost $3 billion worth of savings gained by the deferral of legislation for the ETS until at least the end of 2012.
“Climate change remains a core challenge for the future – for this nation and for all nations,” Wayne Swan said in his budget speech last night.
The Treasurer said the government accepted the science of climate change and the need for combined global and domestic action.
That is why we have accepted a target range of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by between 5 and 25 per cent by 2020.”
He told parliament the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme remained “the cheapest and most effective way” of tackling climate change.
“As we continue to work to build the necessary domestic and international consensus for carbon markets, we will roll out the most substantial renewable energy plan this country has seen – consistent with our decision to increase the renewable energy target to 20 per cent by 2020,” the Treasurer said.
The Renewable Energy Future Fund will form part of the government’s Clean Energy Initiative.
It will be used to provide additional support for renewable energy projects of all sizes.
“This fund will leverage private sector investment to support renewable energy projects and the development of low-emissions technologies,” Mr Swan said.
“It will also be used to enhance Australia’s take-up of energy efficiency, including helping households and businesses reduce their energy consumption.”
The budget provides a total of $652.5m from next financial year for the fund.
The fund will provide support through partnerships between the government and the private sector to make critical, early-stage investments to help gain extra private funds to support the commercialisation of renewable technologies. Details of the specific commitments for the fund will be announced in the future.
However, the government flagged in the budget overview that wind, solar and biomass projects would be likely to receive support.
Money for the fund will be delivered through a range of government departments and agencies, with the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency co-ordinating its progress and priorities.
Katie Bice in Herald Sun 12 May 2010:
HOUSEHOLDS will be encouraged to become more energy efficient under the largest renewable energy program ever seen.
The $652 million Renewable Energy Future Fund will support research and development into new low-emission technologies.
But the program only came about through funding freed up by the shelving of the Emissions Trading Scheme – and specific details of the commitments are yet to be announced.
The Government says climate change remains a major challenge and the new program will help with the transition to a ETS.
The recycled money is part of an expanded $5 billion Clean Energy Initiative.
With the ETS on the backburner, the Government has turned its attention to educating the public.
About $30 million will be spent over the next two years in a series of print, television and radio announcements to educate Australians about the science of climate change.
The Government did not announce any plan to replace the ETS with a new scheme.
Funding intended for the defunct home insulation program and the solar hot water rebate will be redirected to renewable energy.
But the cash was not enough to save a number of other environment projects.
There will be a $200 million cut over three years to the Green Car Innovation Fund, which was aimed at encouraging Australian companies to produce technology to lessen greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption.
Funding was also shaved from a scheme to promote rebates for rainwater tanks and grey water systems.
The Government said the cuts were due to “lower than expected demand”.