Saturday, February 18, 2012

Australian Government $1B Energy Reduction Fund

The Minister for Industry and Innovation, Greg Combet, launched the $800M Clean Technology Investment Program and $200M Clean Technology Food and Foundries Investment Program on 16 February 2012. These will be funded from the carbon tax as part of the Clean Energy Future package. These are to subsidize industry purchase of more energy efficient equipment, or other ways to reduce carbon pollution.

As the size of the grants rise, companies have to invest more of their own money to receive funding: Investments under $0.5M for small companies will be matched dollar for dollar, under $10M $2 for every $1 pf grant, over $10M $3 for each $1.

Information sessions will be held around Australia in March: 5th Sydney, 7th Adelaide, 8th Perth, 15th Brisbane, 16th Melbourne, 19th Canberra and 22nd Hobart.

One difficult issue is companies which are no longer viable in Australia due to their high levels of carbon emissions. As an example, aluminum smelting takes very large amounts of energy which, in Australia, come from burning coal. The best option is to move the smelters to countries having renewable energy, such as New Zealand. However, even though these industries employ few workers (who could be easily compensated), it would be politically unacceptable to fund moving an industry offshore.

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