Good news! The federal government’s attempt to redirect public money from Australia’s renewable energy funder, Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), to bankroll fossil fuel technologies, has been defeated.
These controversial regulations were issued by federal energy and emissions reduction minister Angus Taylor and attempted to expand the responsibilities of ARENA and redirect its funds to fossil fuel technologies.
ARENA was established in 2012 as a dedicated public renewable energy funder, but for years now the federal government has been trying to radically reshape ARENA and channel its funding into fossil fuel technologies.
The government has frequently sought to expand ARENA’s investment remit to fund non-renewable projects, including carbon capture and storage (CCS), blue hydrogen projects and ‘low-emission’ technologies.
On their face, these technologies may seem to have some benefit to our climate, but in reality, they only serve to prop up the fossil fuel industry, potentially at the expense of the renewable projects ARENA currently supports.
CCS prolongs fossil fuel dependency because it operates in conjunction with projects spouting dangerous polluting gases, and minimises efforts to transition away from fossil fuels.
And whilst hydrogen appears to be a renewable solution, blue hydrogen involves a process which relies on fossil fuels in its production and is reliant on unproven CCS technology to capture greenhouse gases. This is distinct from green hydrogen, which only uses renewable energy sources such as solar, wind or tidal power in its production.
The latest cancelling-out of the new ARENA regulations was due to a disallowance motion which was ultimately not voted on and meant that, under Senate rules, the regulations were deemed to be disallowed.
It’s a win for renewables in Australia!