The Greens welcome the leap forward towards powering Australia with 100% renewable energy secured as part of the agreement to put a price on pollution announced today with the government and the independent MPs.
"The Australian community is crying out for renewable energy and I am delighted that we have been able to deliver Australia's biggest ever public investment in renewable energy. Not only do we have a multi-billion dollar independent fund and a new agency but also some critically important reforms," Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.
Achievements supporting renewable energy through the carbon price package include:
• A Clean Energy Finance Corporation will be established, to be run by an independent board and funded with a guaranteed $10 billion over five years. 50% of this fund will be for a renewable energy stream, and 50% for a general clean energy stream (which could include not only renewable energy but also energy efficiency for example);
• All Commonwealth government renewable energy programs (except the Renewable Energy Target) will be administered by a new independent authority, the Australian Renewable Energy Authority (ARENA), for the first time creating a systemic, whole-of-government approach to renewable energy outside the political reach of Government;
• The Australian Energy Market Operator will be tasked with preparing plans for the electricity grid to operate with 100% renewable energy;
• A Remote Indigenous Energy Program will build on the Remote Renewable Power Generation Program the Greens fought hard to save, investing in installation of renewables and training in maintenance of the systems for 50-70 remote indigenous communities; and
• Burning native forests will no longer be eligible to count as renewable energy.
"Securing a guarantee of 50% of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation fund for renewable energy, with the opportunity to bid into the rest, is the biggest single investment in renewable energy Australia has ever made. With a legislatively guaranteed stream of funding outside the budget, no future government will be able to undermine it without changing legislation."
"The CEFC will be able to leverage very significant private funds on top of its own to directly invest in renewable energy projects, provide loan guarantees or guaranteed tariffs or whatever other means its expert and independent board deems fit.
"It has been obvious for years that renewable energy programs in Australia are a mess of badly-designed photo opportunity schemes subject to changed rules and timeframes at the whim of Ministers. By bringing all these programs under the independent authority, ARENA, we can finally deliver the consistent, systemic support the industry needs in order to challenge entrenched coal.
"Tasking the Energy Market Operator with developing plans for a 100% renewable energy grid will force a necessary change of thinking and open up a lot of great minds to the opportunities. This seemingly small achievement could have one of the biggest impacts of all.
"Taking native forest furnaces out of the definition of a renewable energy is a wonderful victory for common sense, for our climate and for our wildlife.
"Of all the emails my office received, of all the community campaigns, the calls for renewable energy have been by far the loudest and strongest. Every one of you gave us much needed help in the negotiations and can take some credit for this important step."