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Australia launches largest roll-out of renewable energy

The Australian Government will commit A$653 million over four years to establish a Renewable Energy Future Fund.

The Fund will support the development and deployment of large- and small-scale renewable energy projects, such as investments in geothermal, solar and wave energy.

It will also enhance take-up of industrial, commercial and residential energy efficiency.

The Fund will include partnerships between Government and the private sector to make critical early stage investments to leverage private funds to support the commercialisation of renewable energy technologies.

It is part of the Government's expanded A$5.1 billion Clean Energy Initiative, which includes the A$1.5bn Solar Flagships Program announced in last year's budget. It will complement the existing support provided through the Government's expanded Renewable Energy Target of 20% by 2020.

This additional funding boosts the Federal Government's total investments in renewable and clean energy and energy efficiency to A$10bn. The cost of the Fund will be offset by funding resulting from the deferral of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, as well as some existing departmental funding from within the Climate Change and Energy Efficiency portfolio.

Funding for two renewable energy projects

The Government will also invest another A$110.5m from existing renewable energy programmes in two projects:

  • A$32m for CS Energy to build a 23 MW solar boost to coal-fired turbines at Kogan Creek in western Queensland, using Areva Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector technology; and
  • A$60m for N.P. Power (Whyalla Solar Oasis consortium) to build a 40 MW concentrated solar thermal demonstration plant at Whyalla, South Australia, using Australia's ‘Big Dish’ technology.

Combined with investment from the applicants, the two projects will deliver A$320m in solar energy investment in Australia and 60 MW of solar peak load generation capacity within the next four years. The projects will displace the annual emission of 100,000 tonnes of CO2.

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