ARENA spooks clean energy investors

The Clean Energy Council (CEC) said it would be surprised and disappointed if the Federal Government cut up to $200 million of funding from new clean energy technologies, as was reported by parts of the media in May.

CEC deputy chief executive Kane Thornton said the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) was designed to be at arm’s length from the government of the day so that its funding remained secure and it could provide much-needed certainty for renewable energy investors in Australia.

“This is the first time that ARENA’s funding independence has been tested and the renewable energy industry is very concerned about the speculation that funding might be cut, just one year after its establishment,” Mr Thornton said.

“ARENA’s role is to support cutting-edge clean energy technology and accelerate our transition to a cleaner energy mix, which is why it has been supported by all major political parties. It would be disappointing if hundreds of millions of dollars were pulled out of an agency geared towards providing a leg-up for home grown Australian innovation.”

Mr Thornton said investment in the next generation of energy technologies remains of critical importance to help traditional industries compete in a low-carbon world.

“This is why all sides of politics have provided support for ARENA,” he said.

According to the CEC, a move to cut ARENA’s funding could reflect poorly on Australia in the eyes of many companies that have been preparing to invest in clean energy innovation in Australia.