The Australian Government has introduced new regulations that will help develop the next generation of low-emission energy technologies.
The Australian government has allocated AUD$192.5 million (£102m) to enable the ARENA agency to deliver targeted programs and research, including supporting microgrids, reducing barriers for electric vehicle use or vehicles powered by biofuel or clean hydrogen technology, as well as investigating energy efficiency in industrial settings.
Australia is already a major producer of renewable energy, with solar, wind and hydroelectricity accounting for 20% of the country’s total electricity generation. ARENA Chief Executive Ivor Frischknecht said: “These regulations will accelerate the development and growth of clean energy projects in Australia over the next five years.”
As part of its climate policies, the Australian government also plans to invest A$1bn ($720m) in research and development within the country’s renewable energy sector.
In addition, a new AUD$100m Green Army program will be created under which young unemployed Australians will be given work on environmental conservation projects such as water quality improvement or land rehabilitation.
The new rules will also extend the remit of ARENA to cover research into carbon capture and storage (CCS), although funding for this will be drawn from existing Department of Science budget allocations.
With this new plan, Australia is suggested to meet 2050 net zero targets.
The main guideline to be followed in the investment is that it should be directed towards low emissions technologies like solar photovoltaic (PV), wind energy, wave and tidal stream power etc. Existing projects with a $19 million funding commitment will continue under the new rules.
However, some environmentalists are unhappy about this plan as they feel that money invested in renewable energy should have been devoted for emission reduction activities elsewhere.