Treasurer Wayne Swan and the Minister for Resources and Energy Martin Ferguson today launched the Australian Centre for Renewable Energy (ACRE) at the North Queensland Renewables Business Roundtable in Canberra.
The Centre is part of the Rudd Government's $4.5 billion Clean Energy Initiative and draws together more than $560 million of renewable energy investment to help commercialise renewable energy.
The ACRE Interim Advisory Board will commence work immediately with priority legislation for the establishment of ACRE to be considered by the Parliament in November.
"The Government is providing the energy sector with the certainty it needs to support long-term investments in the low-pollution technologies of the future, through the expanded Renewable Energy Target Scheme and the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme," the Treasurer said.
ACRE will help Australia meet its targets of 20 per cent renewable energy by 2020 and greenhouse gas emissions reduction of 60 per cent by 2050.
Treasury modelling projects that by 2050 Australia's renewable energy sector output will be 30 times larger than it is today, with the expanded Renewable Energy Target and Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.
Minister Ferguson said, "ACRE's first task will be to make funding recommendations to me before the end of the year on the most prospective solar applications received under the original Renewable Energy Demonstration Program guidelines."
The solar applications have already been assessed by the Renewable Energy Committee as promised at the time of the 2009 Budget and the most prospective will now be considered by ACRE for funding.
Minister Ferguson said, "Another of ACRE's initial tasks will be to develop and implement a funding strategy capable of supporting projects along the innovation chain, including a venture capital strategy."
ACRE is a key plank in Australia's Clean Energy Initiative to transition the nation to affordable, low-carbon energy technologies.
The accelerated development, commercialisation and demonstration of renewable energy technologies through ACRE will complement the Government's investment in research through the Australian Solar Institute and industrial-scale demonstration through the Solar Flagships Program.
The Government has now decided on the design of the Solar Flagships Program. Details can be found in the factsheet at www.ret.gov.au.
28 October 2009