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Australia eyes private investors for €461m renewables fund

Fund to get cash saved from shelved emissions trading scheme

Australia is putting the cash saved by delaying its emissions trading scheme into a new renewable energy fund that will leverage private sector investment.
The Renewable Energy Future Fund, announced by Treasurer Wayne Swan in the budget this week, will grow to A$652m (€461m) over four years. It will be part of the expanded $5.1bn Clean Energy Initiative that was launched last year.
“This Fund will leverage private sector investment to support renewable energy projects, and the development and deployment of low-emissions technologies,” Swan said. It would also be used to enhance Australia’s take-up of energy efficiency. It was not immediately clear how the new fund would be managed.
The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency said the emissions scheme’s deferral would save A$415m. This, along with “additional departmentalsavings” of $238m, would be allocated to the new fund.
The launch follows news that a group of 14 European development finance institutions plan to set up the Interact Climate Change Fund to act as a catalyst to get long-term investment in climate change.
Australia’s Clean Energy Council welcomed the government’s announcement, saying the new fund would “encourage partnerships between the Government and the private sector to leverage venture capital and support investments in new renewable technologies like geothermal, wave power and tidal power”.
The government announced the delay to its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, a proposed cap-and-trade system of emissions trading for greenhouse gases, last month – citing a lack of bipartisan support. The plan had drawn criticism from campaigners and business groups. Budget Speech