Prime Minister touts ARENA projects after snatching grants funding - Solar Citizens

Prime Minister touts ARENA projects after snatching grants funding

Less than a month after the Turnbull government snatched $1.3 billion from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), it today touted the benefits of its renewable energy research and development projects already in the pipeline.

Claire O’Rourke, National Director, Solar Citizens said, “The Turnbull Government has stripped $1.3 billion from ARENA and scrapped its grants program – instead projects will have to be able to attract debt or equity finance under the new Clean Energy Innovation Fund.

“The projects announced by the government today would be unlikely to attract funding under Mr Turnbull’s proposed changes that remove ARENA’s grantmaking function,” Ms O’Rourke said.

“The main aim of the new Clean Energy Innovation Fund that will be managed by ARENA and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation is to fund commercially viable projects.

“Yet we all know that any research at its early stages is rarely commercially viable, despite being necessary to ensure Australia can stay at the cutting edge of the global renewable energy industry innovation.

“With the global march on renewable energy gaining momentum, now is the time we should be heavily investing in renewable energy research front and centre – putting the brakes on ARENA’s R&D capability makes no sense,” she said.

Ms O’Rourke said nearly three times as much money was invested globally in renewables in 2015 than a decade earlier, yet the Turnbull government was ripping funding from renewable research and development grants while simultaneously talking up the need for an agile and innovative economy.

“We call on the government to reinstate ARENA’s funding and grants program,” Ms O’Rourke said. “Funding renewable energy research is a vital part of Australia becoming the innovative and transformative economy Mr Turnbull promotes,” she said.

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