Solar Citizens welcomes the Federal Government’s announcement today to ensure the future of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

The Government today also announced a $1 billion clean energy innovation fund drawn from existing CEFC allocations to be managed by the CEFC and ARENA.

“Today’s announcement indicates a positive shift towards clean energy by the Turnbull Government, following years of attacks on the CEFC and ARENA under former Prime Minister Tony Abbott,” Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke said.

“However we have grave concerns that ARENA’s funding and grant making function will wither under the changes.

“Grants are essential to supporting new ideas and helping drive innovation at the cutting edge of the industry - we are very concerned that research and development could be held back without ongoing support that ARENA has been providing.

“The new clean energy innovation fund’s required rate of return will also be adjusted to the bond rate plus 1%, a positive development. The fund will also allow ARENA to make equity investments - this is a welcome additional function to the agency’s core purpose.

“ARENA must continue to provide grants to support emerging technologies, and it must retain a full independent board.

“The coming Federal election is a prime opportunity for a break with the politicisation of renewable energy that we’ve experienced in the past and to begin a new race to a 100% clean energy future by all parties contesting the poll.

“Australians love solar and renewable energy and are concerned about the economy, jobs and the cost of living. Recent polling commissioned by Solar Citizens found that the majority of voters support a gradual transition to 100% renewable power by 2030.

“It’s a realistic and achievable goal that will support an agile, diverse economy and Australian families and help keep power bills under control for the long term,” she said.

“Australians want strong leadership that can turbo charge the transition to renewable energy and make clean energy an integral part of a thriving economy.

Claire O’Rourke is available for interview.

Media contact: Jane Garcia 0434 489 533