The federal government continues to throw money at fossil fuels in today’s energy announcement, undermining the work renewables are doing in cutting Australia’s climate emissions, the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) said today. 

“The $1.4 billion for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency over the next decade represents a funding cut, based on the agency’s historical funding, while expanding its work to invest in dirty technologies,” said ACF’s climate program manager Gavan McFadzean.

“The lack of clear climate and energy policy or a commitment to net zero emissions by 2050 from the Morrison government has dashed certainty and seen new renewable investment fall off a cliff this year. 

“This announcement, while containing some good elements, looks like an extension of Minister Angus Taylor’s obsession with fossil fuels, despite many experts warning this is the wrong direction – for jobs, the economy and certainly the climate.

“Broadening the mandates of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to force them to invest in gas and unproven carbon capture and storage is an unnecessary and dangerous turn.

“To fossilize the CEFC and ARENA — essential piece of Australia’s very limited climate policy — would be a grave mistake.”

Both agencies have been very successful in spurring the growth of renewable energy in Australia. Renewable projects funded by the CEFC deliver around 7% return on investment.

“ACF is proud to have come up with the idea of a Clean Energy Finance Corporation in our 2010 report, Funding the transition to a clean economy,” Mr McFadzean said.

“Carbon capture and storage has already received $1.3 billion in taxpayer support with almost no commercial successes. It is not reliable or cost effective and should not be used as an excuse to prolong the use of coal, oil and gas at a time of already severe climate change.

“Carbon capture and storage for electricity generation or for hydrogen production with dirty fuels is a wolf in sheep’s clothing and should be called out for what it is: an effort to throw public money — in this case more than $50 million — at fossil fuels.

“There are some positive aspects of the government’s announcement today, including the $50 million for energy efficiency measures in homes and commercial buildings and the funding for renewable and battery storage micro-grids in remote areas to help mines, farms and communities that presently rely on expensive diesel.

“There is $70.2 million for a regional hydrogen export hub, but with no commitment for the hydrogen to be created with clean energy. 

“Clean hydrogen is only clean if it is made from renewable energy. Hydrogen made from coal and gas creates more emissions than burning the coal and gas directly. 

“ACF calls on parliamentarians to oppose moves to compromise the integrity and the core purpose of Australia’s clean energy agencies.”

ACF Media Enquiries

Journalists with enquiries may contact Josh Meadows on 0439 342 992. For all other enquiries please call 1800 223 669 or email action@mail.acf.org.au