A positive step for renewables

Ron Sawyer from Repower The Dandenongs presenting at the Community Forum on Wednesday 15 May. Picture: SUPPLIED

By Tanya Steele

The recent Federal budget drop has made decisive moves towards renewable energy future in Australia.

The budget has backed billions for clean industry, funding to deliver more EV vehicle charging infrastructure to help people make the switch to EV cars and eventually implement the New Vehicle Efficiency standard.

With plans to make Australia a renewable energy superpower the Government is unlocking more than $65 billion of investment in renewable capacity through the Capacity Investment Scheme by 2030.

President of Repower The Dandenongs (formally known under the name Dandenong, Ranges Renewable Energy Association) Neil Evenden said that the recent Federal Budget is positive.

“Fortunately this budget is pretty good, better than we had in the past,” he said.

Australia is committed to reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and this Budget will invest $27.7 million to integrate consumer energy resources like batteries and solar into the grid.

“The investment in future manufacturing of renewables is really good for the long term.” Mr Everden said.

The Climate Council has described the 2024-25 Federal Budget as a decisive turn towards Australia’s clean energy future.

Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said building a renewable future and clean industrial base will deliver good jobs and greater prospects for Australians.

“The budget makes an important and overdue opening bid to claim our place as one of the world’s clean energy market leaders,” she said.

“Both sides of politics should back this vision for Australia. It’s not political, it is for our kids.”

$300 energy rebates cost of living relief for every household are another bonus for all Australian households and around one million small businesses – From 1 July 2024, more than 10 million households will receive a total rebate of $300 and eligible small businesses will receive $325 on their electricity bills throughout the year.

Mr Evenden said that he can see why there is a one-off immediate payment for the short term.

“We’re not going to get energy bill relief, until later down the track when all these plans play out,” he said.

Mr Evenden said he was disappointed by the lack of funding for community electrification

“I think the next budget or maybe the one after that, we’ll have funding to help people change their household appliances to more electric and get off the gas – but that wasn’t in this budget,” he said.

The government also recently announced it wanted to see more gas exploration and and has pledged to use to gas a source of energy until 2050 and beyond – there has been 19 billion allocated to accelerate investment in ‘Future Made in Australia’ priority industries like renewable hydrogen, green metals, low carbon liquid fuels (not gas and carbon).

With no new budget allocations for gas, Climate Council Head of Policy and Advocacy Dr Jennifer Rayner said on 9 May that the recent announcement was more ‘Back to the Future’ than ‘Future Made in Australia’.

“Australia is already using less gas, so the suggestion we need more of it sounds like Scott Morrison’s ‘gas led recovery’, not Anthony Albanese’s ‘renewable energy superpower’,” she said.

Mr Evenden said that overall the latest funding is heading in the right direction.

“So some people are not happy certain things aren’t in – I’m talking about energy, it could have gone further,” he said.