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$1.9 billion spend on renewables breathes new life into green bank

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Australia’s green bank has had its life-span extended with a $1.62 billion cheque from the Morrison Government.

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The Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s funds had dwindled to $88 million by the end of June and were fully committed, but the new money extends its life for another decade.

It’s part of a broader new $1.9 billion package to develop low-emission technology.

It includes expanding the remit of ARENA and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to support new technologies that reduce emissions in agriculture, manufacturing, industry and transport.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it would help position the economy for the future.

“These investments create jobs and they bring new technologies into play,” he said in a statement.

“This will not only cut emissions but deliver the reliable energy Australia needs while driving down prices for homes and businesses.”

Morrison expects the investment package for low-emission energy projects to create 35,000 jobs.

A new Technology Co-Investment Fund will be set up with $95.4 million to help businesses in agriculture, manufacturing, industry and transport pinpoint opportunities to enhance productivity and adopt new technologies.

The package also includes money for a regional hydrogen export hub, microgrids and improved energy and emissions data.

Energy Minister Angus Taylor has pushed for technology to play a central role in reducing Australia’s emissions.

“The government recognises the strong growth in emerging energy technologies that will play a role in Australia’s energy mix into the future,” he said.

“We need to get the balance right and our investment to re-energise ARENA will deliver that.”

SCOTT MORRISON’S NEXT GENERATION ENERGY PACKAGE

The federal budget will provide $1.9 billion to develop low emissions technology.

* Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to get guaranteed baseline funding of $1.43 billion over 10 years and the ability to support soil carbon sequestration, carbon capture and storage, green steel production, and industrial processes to reduce energy consumption.

* Technology Co-Investment Fund of $95.4 million to help businesses in the agriculture, manufacturing, industry and transport sectors identify opportunities to enhance productivity and adopt new technologies.

* Carbon Capture Use and Storage Development Fund of $50 million to support pilot projects, potentially in Moomba (SA) Surat/Bowen Basins (Qld), offshore Latrobe Valley (Vic), offshore Darwin (NT), Pilbara/Carnarvon Basin (WA) and Browse (WA).

* Regional hydrogen export hub to be funded at a cost of $70.2 million and located in regional Australia, potentially the Latrobe Valley (Vic), Darwin (NT), north-west (WA), Gladstone (Qld), Hunter Valley (NSW), Bell Bay (Tasmania) and the Spencer Gulf (SA).

* Future Fuels Package worth $74.5 million enabling projects such as hydrogen refuelling sites in regional areas.

* New investment in microgrids totalling $67 million, allowing remote mine sites, farms and communities to reduce their reliance on diesel by installing solar panels and batteries.

* Energy productivity measures worth $52.2 million, for example allowing a scouting group to install better air-conditioning equipment in their hall, a charity to install solar PV on their building, or a regional pub to upgrade their refrigeration.

* $24.6 million for the Clean Energy Regulator to develop new Emissions Reduction Fund methods (ways for projects to earn carbon credits).

* $35.4 million for better energy and emissions data and regulatory work.

-AAP

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