The federal government plans to strip the Australian Renewable Energy Agency of most of its funding, as well as its ability to give funding or grants to renewable projects and research, now that Parliament has resumed as The Conversation stated on their article.
Remarkably, the ALP, which established ARENA when in government, may allow this to happen. This is an empirical threat to renewable energy research, education and innovation in Australia.
The solar PV industry is big business and at present, makes up a quarter of all new electricity generation capacity installed every year around the world and its growing at 20%-30% every year. Wind and solar energy make up half of all new generation capacity installed worldwide and all new generation capacity installed in the country. There’s a renewable energy revolution happening and Australia is at the forefront. Cutting grants and funding of ARENA will directly threaten the future of renewable development in Australia.
Australia’s economy has benefited billions of dollars in the form of reduced solar costs, increased renewable energy business activity, royalties, shares, fewer greenhouse emissions and international student fees. One fine example is the Australian-developed PERC solar cell now has annual sales of $9 Billion and is estimated to lead the worldwide solar industry. The energy efficiency made possible by this technology is forecast to save the country about $750 million in electricity generation costs over the next 10 years.
If ARENA is cut, hundreds of people will lose their jobs within the next 2 years. This will include industry leaders and PhD positions. The brightest minds in the field will be forced to leave the industry or worse, leave Australia in favour of other parts of the world where solar research is more highly valued. Also, Australia’s position as a solar and renewable leader will go down the drain.
It’s a critical time for Australia to stay in the game, and by keeping ARENA, Australia will reap the benefits from its leading position in research and education by continuing grant funding.
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