Monday, August 9, 2010
THE Greens are proposing that the federal government almost quadruple support for large-scale solar, geothermal and other forms of renewable energy by guaranteeing up to $5 billion of loans to new power stations.
Greens deputy leader Christine Milne said the existing program for $1.75 billion of renewable energy grants was too small to spark the full use of Australia's potential resources of "sun, wind, ocean, earth, and human ingenuity".
"If we are to make that a reality, we need a well-designed suite of policies to get us there a strategic plan, an ambitious renewable energy target, a feed-in tariff, a grants program and a loan guarantees scheme," Senator Milne said.
With banks' appetite for risky investments dried up by the global financial crisis, she said, "loan guarantees are essential to help renewable energy developers access the finance they need to build baseload power stations".
Senator Milne said a program of government guarantees to underwrite solar, geothermal and tidal power stations could trigger at least $8 billion in new investment.
She attacked Labor for ripping $370 million out of its renewable energy program to pay for its much-ridiculed cash-for-clunkers scheme. Coalition finance spokesman Andrew Robb has pledged to match Labor in cutting renewable energy funding. Labor's former climate change adviser, Ross Garnaut, warned last week that Australia must accelerate its investment in renewable energy research and development to bring on the development of new low-cost, low-emission technologies.