Innovation will be stifled right across the clean energy sector if the Australian Parliament supports legislation to remove future grant funding available from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), released by the Clean Energy Council.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said the organisation had funded hundreds of projects that would not otherwise have gone ahead, bridging major knowledge gaps across the renewable energy industry, reducing technology costs and supporting home-grown Australian research and development activities.

“Legislation to be introduced to Parliament this week includes a $1 billion cut to ARENA’s grants funding, and puts everything that it has achieved at risk,” Mr Thornton said.

“While we understand the government is looking for savings, slashing grant funding for renewable energy massively undermines the industry’s efforts to meet our national emissions reduction targets, as well as the 2020 Renewable Energy Target (RET) and beyond.

“ARENA is an investment by Australia in Australian technology, and it is helping us to catch up in the global race toward clean energy and energy innovation.”

Mr Thornton said ARENA’s use of capital grant funding had a strong track record of success, and was able to deliver results that would not have been possible using debt or equity – the tools available to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the government’s Clean Energy Innovation Fund.

“The cost reductions we have seen already in Australia, in large-scale solar for example, have been remarkable. Every dollar spent by ARENA has helped to leverage private sector finance, and will deliver greater value for the energy sector in years to come.

“The renewable energy industry urges the major parties to retain ARENA’s future funding as a crucial investment in our energy future.”