Australia’s Federal Government releases 2010/2011 budget with strong support for solar

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The Australian Federal Government announced its 2010/2011 budget on May 11, showing strong support for renewable energy. The Australian Greens leader, Bob Brown, announced a new AUS$652 million Renewable Energy Future Fund, which will be part of an expanded AUS$5.1 billion Clean Energy Initiative, reports Energy Matters.

“As we continue to work to build the necessary domestic and international consensus for carbon markets, we will roll out the most substantial renewable energy plan this country has seen – consistent with our decision to increase the renewable energy target to 20% by 2020,” said Brown in his Budget speech.

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“Tonight I announce the next step – a new AUS$652 million Renewable Energy Future Fund, which will be part of an expanded AUS$5.1 billion Clean Energy Initiative. This Fund will leverage private sector investment to support renewable energy projects, and the development and deployment of low-emissions technologies. It will also be used to enhance Australia’s take-up of energy efficiency, including helping households and businesses reduce their energy consumption.”

The Clean Energy Council (CEC) have since reported that AUS$42m will be allocated to Renewable Energy Future Fund for 2010-11, with the majority earmarked for 2011-12. The CEC says the aims of the Renewable Energy Future Fund are to leverage private venture capital by encouraging partnerships between the Government and the private sector in the commercialization of new renewable technologies and to encourage energy efficiency measures to help businesses and households reduce their energy consumption

The Government has also announced AUS$200 million to establish a Critical Skills Investment Fund, providing up to 10,000 training places on an annual basis to be created with an initial focus on industries including renewable energy.

An additional AUS$102.7 million will also provide an added 600,000 home sustainability assessments under the now rather unusually named “Green Loans” program – unusually named in the sense that the Green Loans component is no longer offered after it was axed in February 2010.

More information on the Renewable Energy Future Fund is expected shortly.

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