Australia, Projects, Renewables, Solar

Collective plea for renewables funding

Several Australian organisations have bandied together to lobby the Federal Government to commit to $100 billion investment in clean energy.

A number of diverse organisations have joined forces to call on the Federal Government to commit to a 10-year $100 billion Australian Renewables Industry Package to secure Australia’s energy and economic future.

Coming together at the Australian Renewables Industry Summit in Canberra in September 2023, the collective of organisations spans clean energy, climate change, business, investment, community and unions. It believes Australia risks being left behind in the global renewables race unless the government urgently commits to the package, particularly in light of the US Government’s US$1 trillion Inflation Reduction Act.

The call for an Australian Renewables Industry Package is endorsed by groups including the Clean Energy Council, Australian Conservation Foundation, Australian Council of Trade Unions, Climate Action Network Australia, Climate Energy Finance, First Nations Clean Energy Network, New Energy Nexus, Rewiring Australia and the Smart Energy Council.

“Australia is well placed to seize opportunities in clean energy and manufacturing,” Australian Conservation Foundation chief executive officer Kelly O’Shanassy said. “We are in a climate crisis and as the largest exporter of coal and LNG [liquefied natural gas] in the world, Australia has a unique opportunity to take a leading role in decarbonising critical industries such as iron and steel.

“The Australian Renewable Industry Package is needed to reduce industrial emissions and retain a safe climate.”

The group feels Australia must act ambitiously in order to realise the employment, export, economic, emissions-reduction, environmental and social benefits to the nation.

“Australia is standing at a crucial juncture in our nation’s history,” Smart Energy Council chief executive John Grimes said.

“Our world-leading resources and renewable energy potential provide the opportunity for Australia to become a driving force in the global green economy while driving down emissions in line with the science to maintain a safe climate.

“But without significantly greater investment, we won’t be able to build industries of the future, reduce emissions, create jobs or strengthen national prosperity and social equity.”

The US Government’s Inflation Reduction Act is funding industrial support packages to build new clean industries, attract investment and create thousands of jobs.

Climate Energy Finance founder Tim Buckley believes Australia needs to follow suit.

“We need a far more integrated and big-picture approach to encourage greater investment, commensurate with the scale of this massive renewables and critical minerals/metals embodied decarbonisation export opportunity for Australia,” he said.

“A $100 billion package will help re-industrialise the nation, create hundreds of thousands of jobs, diversify our export base and revenue streams, increase local value-added production, secure supply chains, and develop sovereign manufacturing capabilities.

“In the 21st century, climate policy, economic policy and national security policy are fundamentally linked.”

The US isn’t the only nation pledging huge funding to renewables, with Canada, the European Union, India, Korea and Japan also committing hundreds of billions towards clean industrial support packages.

“Australia needs to take big action now to fulfill our enormous clean energy potential,” Australian Council of Trade Unions president Michele O’Neil said.

“Both the urgency of the climate crisis and the enormity of the clean energy opportunity for workers, their families and communities calls for a bold, ambitious, fair and timely response from government.”

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