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Government decision will reinvigorate energy innovation

"The Federal Government's decision to reinvigorate public investment in clean energy innovation is an important element in Australia's contribution to global efforts to address the risks of climate change," Australian Industry Group Chief Executive Innes Willox said today.

"The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) have done good work respectively in demonstrating new technologies and in scaling up commercial finance to renewables and efficiency.  Securing the future of these successful organisations, and enabling ARENA to widen its focus to energy efficiency and other emissions-reducing technologies, are sensible moves that Ai Group has long supported.

"The new $1 billion Clean Energy Innovation Fund, a joint initiative between ARENA and the CEFC to invest in commercializing emerging technologies, is a bold initiative.  The funding is large enough to make a significant difference.  The challenge will be to maintain a healthy appetite for risk.  Emerging technology projects will tend to offer either lower returns or higher risks than the more mature technologies that the CEFC has focused on.  The new fund needs a mandate to experiment and take risks if it is to overcome the 'valley of death' innovation faces between the lab and commercial deployment.

"Australia made big commitments in Paris last year, including to share in global efforts under the Paris Agreement to achieve net zero emissions this century; and to double our public investment in clean energy R&D over the next five years, through the 20-country Mission Innovation initiative.

"Stable, bipartisan commitment to effective clean energy innovation institutions is one of the vital building blocks for meeting those commitments.  The Government's decisions will help accelerate the technologies we need to meet our climate goals while maintaining and increasing our prosperity," Mr Willox said.

Media Enquiries:  Tony Melville - 0419 190 347