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Reactions to renewable energy decisions from the 2013-14 federal budget

20th May 2013

Last week, the federal budget for 2013-14 was released. Now you may be wondering, what does this mean for the future of solar power, and indeed for other forms of renewable energy?

As it turns out, the release of the new budget reveals that funding for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is to be reshuffled, with $370 million in funding deferred for three years to 2021-22, and some funds moved away from solar power.

ARENA was created in 2011 to form a vital part of the government's Clean Energy Future package, functioning as an independent statutory authority with the aim of improving the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies, as well as increasing the supply of renewable energy in Australia.

The Australian Solar Council has condemned this move, saying it threatens Australia's solar and renewable future.

"The move to substantially defer ARENA’s funding is a direct attack on its independence, and threatens investor confidence in this critical program," said John Grimes, chief executive of the Australian Solar Council.

"ARENA is playing a central role in building a solar nation, funding solar research and development, as well as big solar power plants. We cannot afford to defer our clean energy future."

Funding that was previously announced for investment in solar projects through the Education Investment Fund is set to be reduced by $159.7 million.

The Australian Solar Council is calling upon Coalition, Green and Independent MPs to reject these proposed budget cuts, as the funding can only be deferred by changing ARENA's legislation.

On the other hand, the Australian Solar Council did express their approval towards the government bringing forward $160 million for the Clean Technology Programs, which help manufacturers to lower their carbon emissions through technologies such as solar panels and energy efficiency measures.

Posted by Bob Dawson

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