A funding injection of $1 billion to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation by the Federal Government can accelerate investment in the electricity transmission network and prepare the energy system for the shift from coal to renewable energy, the Clean Energy Council said today.

Clean Energy Council chief executive Kane Thornton said Australia’s power grid was designed for the last century and it is becoming increasingly obvious that major investment and reform are needed.

“We know that new poles and wires are essential to the development of a modern electricity system. The Grid Reliability Fund is the first increase in capital since the CEFC was established, and can leverage significant private investment into one of the areas of greatest need,” Thornton said.

“It is reassuring to see both the Federal Government and the opposition recognising the importance of investment in network infrastructure and grid stabilising technologies to unlock new generation investment and bring down power prices. Targeted government funding has a role to play in kick-starting urgent investment in a future-ready network.”

Thornton said there is a huge pipeline of new clean energy projects in the system that can help bring prices down, but many investors are holding off due to grid constraints and a lack of certainty on energy and climate policy.

“It is important that there is significant transparency and objectivity in how the fund will support new generation projects short-listed under the Underwriting New Generation Investment program,” he said.

“It is important that the new fund is objective, transparent and does not become politicised. It also needs to be operated in a way that leverages the strong interest from the private sector in Australia’s clean energy future rather than acting to ‘crowd out’ investment.”

Transmission and grid connection were the highest priorities for executives in the clean energy industry in the last two Clean Energy Outlook surveys, which are conducted every six months.