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Building on billion dollar investments in renewable energy

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THE HON IAN MACFARLANE MP Minister for Industry


19 June 2014


The Government will oversee more than a billion dollars of investment in renewable energy in Australia, as part of a long-term strategy to ensure Australia’s energy security and broad energy mix.

This morning Minister for Industry Ian Macfarlane introduced legislation to bring the functions of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) into the Department of Industry. The Government is focused on achieving outcomes from the more than 180 projects which are being supported by more than $1 billion in taxpayers’ funds, to see tangible results in renewable energy technologies.

“This Government supports the energy and resources sector. It is one our economy’s most significant drivers of jobs, private sector investment and national revenue,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“We recognise and value the sector’s depth and its diversity. Renewable energy plays an important role in this energy mix, along with traditional energy sources such as coal, which has powered our economy and our society for decades, and our rich gas reserves which supply domestic power and make Australia an energy exporting superpower.

“Through ARENA, Australian taxpayers have invested $1 billion dollars in a suite of renewable energy projects, which has also attracted another $1.8 billion in private investment. The investments have been made in almost 200 projects across all stages of the innovation chain - from research in the laboratory to large scale technology demonstration projects.

“The Government is keen to see outcomes from these investments.

“We will be ensuring they are well managed, meeting their contracted milestones and contributing to the advancement of an industry that has seen considerable Government and customer funded investment in recent years.”

Some examples of funded projects include:

• AGL’s large solar photovoltaic project at Nyngan and Broken Hill - the largest solar project in Australia - a project that was granted $166 million of taxpayer funds through ARENA; • the Carnegie wave energy project offshore from Garden Island in West Australia - a project currently at demonstration phase that has received ARENA funding totaling $13 million; • the King Island Renewable Energy Integration Project which uses a unique combination of

several renewable technologies and has benefitted from over $6 million of ARENA funding; Page 1

• a facility at James Cook University that received $5 million to demonstrate biocrude production from seaweed.

“This Government believes in providing the policy framework where Australian businesses can grow and compete in an increasingly competitive global marketplace,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“The focus over the life of these projects will be to make sure that the investments that are already made progress the renewable energy industry.

“I would like to thank the CEO of ARENA, Ivor Frischknecht, the Chair of the ARENA Board, Greg Bourne and the three other Board Members, Dr Brian Spalding, Judith Smith, and Betsy Donaghey, who have been thoroughly professional in carrying out their duties under the ARENA Act.”

Media contact: Kylie Barron 0408 508 673