Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Aussie Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has just pledged to spend $1 billion of Australian taxpayer’s money, on renewable schemes which are struggling to raise their own finance on the open market.
Turnbull’s climate change boost defies Abbott
MALCOLM Turnbull will keep two climate funds that Tony Abbott went to the 2013 election pledging to abolish.
The Prime Minister says clean energy is a vital part of his plan to boost innovation and create jobs beyond the mining boom.
The prime minister will announce today that a $1 billion Clean Energy Innovation Fund will be set up in July, jointly managed by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
The two bodies will jointly manage the fund from July in order to finance products such as large-scale solar.
Mr Turnbull, a previous supporter of an emissions trading scheme, has been toning down criticism of clean energy financing since ousting Mr Abbott in September.
However, many Coalition members remain sceptical about the value of spending too much money on climate-related projects.
“We are promoting innovation and new economic opportunities, enhancing our productivity, protecting our environment and reducing emissions to tackle climate change,” Mr Turnbull said in a statement.
He said projects could include a large-scale solar facility with storage in Port Augusta, South Australia.
“By offering innovative equity and debt products, the Clean Energy Innovation Fund can accelerate the availability of new technologies to transform the energy market, and deliver better value for taxpayers.”
Former treasurer Joe Hockey described the CEFC as a “giant $10 billion slush fund”.
Given the long string of green bankruptcies and failures – Solyndra, Abengoa (on the verge of a $30 billion bankruptcy), and too many others to list, given disappointments like the ongoing Invanpah solar power generator debacle, perhaps the market is onto something, when they refuse to put private money into new renewable ventures.
The Turnbull green finance announcement marks a substantial break from the policies of former Aussie PM Tony Abbott, who yesterday claimed Turnbull was seeking re-election on the basis of Abbott policies.