Joint media release: Delivering Australia's climate and energy transformation
The Hon Chris Bowen MP, Minister for Climate Change and Energy
Senator the Hon Jenny McAllister, Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy
The Albanese Government is turbocharging Australia’s energy transformation, with the 2022-23 Budget delivering long-overdue investment to make energy cleaner, cheaper and more secure, create jobs in new industries and the regions, and cut emissions.
The international fossil fuel crisis triggered by Russia’s illegal war has shown Australia the consequences of a decade of underinvestment in the cheapest form of new energy – firmed renewables.
The 2022-23 Budget will help put Australia back on track. It delivers critical action and record investments for cleaner, cheaper and more secure energy. This includes immediate action to keep the lights on and help put downward pressure on prices for households and business.
It locks in policy certainty and nation-transforming investments after a decade of Liberal-National chaos, delay and dysfunction which chilled investment and resulted in a 3GW decline in dispatchable power.
Critically, this 2022-23 Budget delivers election commitments made under the Powering Australia plan for which the Albanese Government received a mandate in May. The 2022-23 Budget includes funding for landmark reforms:
- Rewiring the Nation – $20 billion in low-cost finance for the urgent upgrade and expansion of Australia’s electricity grid at lowest cost – to unlock new renewables, increase the security of the grid and drive down power prices. This includes more than $6 billion already announced to help build Marinus Link and VNI-West, which will unlock Tasmania’s Battery of the Nation and Victoria’s offshore wind and renewables industries.
- Powering the Regions – the regions that have always powered Australia are the same regions that will power us and the world throughout the global economic transformation – but only with the right investment. This Budget establishes the $1.9 billion Powering the Regions Fund, which will provide dedicated support to make sure traditional and new industries in regional Australia can harness the economic opportunities of decarbonisation. This Fund will support new jobs and long-term international competitiveness.
- National Energy Transformation Partnership – for the first time, there is an agreed national plan between the states, territories, and the Commonwealth to keep the lights on through Australia’s massive energy transformation. This includes delivering critical market reforms, supporting investments in the grid such as large-scale storage and transmission, and helping to make homes and appliances more energy efficient.
Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen said the Budget implements the Government’s Powering Australia plan and prioritises energy market reforms for long term reliability and affordability.
“This is Australia’s roadmap to delivering cleaner, more affordable energy to households and businesses – putting us on track to be a renewable energy superpower and ensuring we take advantage of the job and investment opportunities that have been missed for too long,” Minister Bowen said.
“Australian energy markets are dealing with the consequences of the horrific conflict in Europe and a decade of chaos, denial and delay.
“A prime example is the failed Underwriting New Generation Investments program, which delivered not one dollar to a project, nor one kilowatt of electricity to the market – the Albanese Government is redirecting the $63.9m in limbo to dispatchable storage technologies.
“The cheapest form of energy is firmed renewables, even more so as global coal, oil and gas prices spike. The investments in the 2022-23 Budget will unlock the firmed renewable technologies necessary to drive prices downwards and keep the lights on.
“The Budget proudly builds on the Government’s ambitious climate and energy agenda, which has already seen Australia’s Climate Change Bill legislated, putting Australia on track for net zero by 2050. It includes clean energy projects in the regions, skills development, international climate leadership to drive investment, and close engagement with First Nations communities.”
Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy Senator Jenny McAllister said, “Our government is determined to make every watt count. This Budget delivers energy efficiency measures that put downward pressure on prices and reduce emissions.
“After a decade of inaction and dysfunction, the Albanese Government is committed to acting on adaptation including working with First Nations people.”
Creating jobs and spurring investment in new energy industries
- $1.9 billion to establish the Powering the Regions Fund which will support new jobs and the decarbonisation of emissions-intensive industries, and help ensure regional Australians drive Australia’s transformation into a renewable energy superpower.
- $71.9 million to build a Hydrogen Hub in Townsville, to fast-track Australia’s green hydrogen industry and take the Albanese Government’s planned investments in regional hydrogen hubs to well over $525 million.
- $62 million towards Skilling the Clean Energy Workforce, including financial support, assistance and mentoring to 10,000 New Energy Apprenticeships as part of a $100 million commitment over 10 years.
- $2.2 million towards developing a Guarantee of Origin Certificate scheme to allow markets to verify and value renewable electricity, hydrogen and green commodities.
- As well as these measures, the Government will establish a new Net Zero Economy Taskforce, which will provide advice on ensuring workers, especially those in regional Australia, benefit from Australia’s transformation to a renewable energy superpower.
Making energy cleaner, cheaper and more secure
- $224.3 million for the Community Batteries for Household Solar grants program, to deploy 400 community-scale batteries for up to 100,000 Australian households.
- $102.2 million for Community Solar Banks for 25,000 Australians living in apartments, rentals and low-income households across Australia.
- $157.9 million to support energy security and reliability including;
- National Energy Transformation Partnership;
- First Nations Clean Energy Strategy;
- Energy and transmission planning;
- A National Energy Performance Strategy; and
- Expansion of the Greenhouse Energy Minimum Standards program and the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme.
- $63.9 million to invest in dispatchable storage technologies, such as large-scale battery projects - redirected from the failed UNGI program which delivered 0MW of capacity.
- $22.8 million to support the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) to help integrate more renewable energy into the National Electricity Market (NEM), and improve the regulation of gas pipelines to lower gas transportation costs and promote reliable supply.
- $49.5 million to increase the security of the diesel exhaust fluid market in Australia, by securing an emergency stockpile of technical grade urea, investing in sovereign manufacturing, and enhancing market transparency.
- $62.6m for an energy efficiency grants program for small and medium-sized business to reduce energy use and lower energy bills.
- $83.8 million to develop and deploy First Nations Community Microgrid projects. Remote communities will benefit from improved security and affordability of energy supply.
Reducing emissions and addressing climate change
- An additional $275 million to deliver the $500 million Driving the Nation Fund, to reduce emissions in transport by building a national electric vehicle charging network and investing in infrastructure for zero-emission vehicles for highways, fleets, and freight hubs.
- $15.9m to engage with First Nations people on climate change including establishing the Torres Strait Climate Centre of Excellence.
- $47.1m to restore the Climate Change Authority and fulfil its new functions established by the Climate Change Act 2022, improving transparency of climate action in Australia.
- $141.1m to realign investment in carbon capture technologies to hard-to-abate industrial sectors (such as cement manufacturing) and accelerating carbon dioxide removal and negative emissions technologies.
- $345 million for the Electric Car Discount which will cut taxes by exempting eligible electric cars from fringe benefits tax and the 5 per cent import tariff.
- $14 million for the Australian Automobile Association to conduct on-road emissions and fuel consumption testing of light vehicles sold in Australia.
- The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), two proud Labor legacies, will both have their funding maintained. These agencies will have responsibility for administering the below programs;
o CEFC will be the finance arm of the new Rewiring the Nation Office (RTNO), with the Australian Energy Market Operator as a technical advisor.
o ARENA will deliver:
- $230.1 million as part of Driving the Nation.
- $188.4 million for the Community Batteries for Household Solar grants program.
- $60.0 million to expand ARENA’s existing Large Scale Battery Storage Funding Round.