Clean energy agency shakes up climate policy test for work
The proposed changes create a political wedge for Labor that is internally divided between its left faction, which is generally opposed to funding all fossil fuels, and right-wing members who want the party to appeal more to blue collar workers. with the support of inheritance. energy industries.
“Labor has quit blue collar jobs. Now they are giving up jobs in energy efficiency, hydrogen and electric vehicles, ”said a spokesperson for Mr. Taylor.
The changes to ARENA’s mandate would allow it to oversee funds in addition to the $ 1.4 billion allocated in the federal budget last year, including $ 47 million for industrial energy transformation studies, $ 20 million dollars for the energy productivity of freight and 72 million dollars for the future strategy of fuels to be financed. hydroelectric and biofuel vehicles.
Department of Energy officials said at a hearing on Senate estimates on Tuesday that the changes would allow ARENA to fund carbon capture and storage, new gas technology, gas storage. energy and soil carbon.
In August, Mr Taylor introduced a bill allowing the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to administer a $ 1 billion grid reliability fund for gas-fired energy and infrastructure projects, which would come in add to the $ 10 billion clean energy fund it already administers.
The government delayed the introduction of the bill after Nationals backbench MP Barnaby Joyce infuriated his colleagues by tabling an amendment to the bill to allow CEFC to fund coal-fired electricity.
Former Labor climate and energy spokesman Mark Butler said last year that Labor would oppose CEFC changes.
Ministry officials said to estimates that they had drafted a bill to change ARENA’s legislation, but the government had opted for a regulatory change. The ministry sought legal advice which they said showed the new regulations were sound.
Greens leader Adam Bandt received advice on ARENA changes from the Parliamentary Library, who said they may not be allowed under existing law.
“The regulatory powers under the ARENA Act do not appear to expand the scope of the law in this way,” the library said.
While the government may legislate to expand the mandate of energy agencies, it remains to be seen which technologies are favored by the boards that manage them.
ARENA and CEFC must adhere to investment rules that require them not only to fund new technologies, but also to deliver value for taxpayers’ money.