Last night a new $10 billion renewable energy fund was passed into law by the Senate. From July 1 next year, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation will drive the development of new renewable energy projects in Australia and leverage up to $100 billion of private clean energy investment.
This new fund has the potential to transform Australia’s energy landscape and it is in no small part due to the efforts of people who’ve been campaigning, some for many years, to secure this kind of result.
In groups across the country, we’ve polled tens of thousands of Australians, sent thousands of online petition responses, conducted hundreds of meetings with MPs, generated media interest and built a campaign strong enough that our politicians have responded with legislation that boosts renewable energy far beyond where it was two years ago.
Together with other groups and organisations we’ve raised the issue of renewable energy in a strategic way and ensured that politicians on all sides understand Australia's desire for renewable energy.
Even though the Coalition continue to oppose the CEFC, they have toned down their anti-renewables rhetoric and Tony Abbott has recommitted the Coalition to supporting the Renewable Energy Target, telling his partyroom that “people saw generating renewable energy as an important issue and the Coalition had to commit to it.”
While we can have high hopes for the CEFC, we will need to watch its progress to make sure it delivers on its promise.
We know that currently the CEFC-backed projects won’t extend Australia’s renewable energy capacity beyond the 20% by 2020 Renewable Energy Target. That can be fixed and it will be something we’ll focus on later this year when the Renewable Energy Target comes up for review. (read on for a fuller run down on the final package)
A big thank you to all of you who have helped in whatever way to create this important moment in Australia’s renewable energy history.