ARENA says removal of grant funding widens bridge over "valley of death" | RenewEconomy

ARENA says removal of grant funding widens bridge over “valley of death”

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ARENA says removal of grant funding will make it difficult for new technologies to bridge the investment “valley of death.”

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The Australian Renewable Energy Agency has delivered a thinly veiled criticism of the Coalition decision to remove its grant-funding ability, saying it will make it harder to bridge the “valley of death” for new technologies.

valleyofdeath

The Coalition announced last month that it would scrap the $1.3 billion in legislated but uncommitted funds from ARENA, although it would preserve the agency by giving it a new role “advising” on the new Clean Energy Innovation Fund.

The CEIF, using $1 billion of previously allocated funds from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, will only invest in equity and finance, so it could retrieve its investment rather than handing them out through grants.

The CEIF was welcomed, but the removal of the grant-based funding was questioned by many, including the former ARENA chairman Greg Bourne, who said that it would remove an important funding mechanism that was critical for early-stage technologies and R&D.

On Thursday, Danny De Schutter, ARENA’s senior strategy consultant, said the changes flagged by the government would represent a “considerable shift” in the agency’s ability to support early stage innovation.

“The valley of death  … that sits between R&D and development … needs a bridge to cross,” de Schutter told the SolarExpo conference in Melbourne. “The CEIF as announced will provide one end of that bridge. The question is what is at other end of that bridge and where that will meet in the middle.”
De Schutter said ARENA was looking at that issue so it could respond when the changes were passed through parliament.
That will largely depend on the result of the election campaign, but changes do seem inevitable after Labor announced that it would not fight the changes to ARENA, because it received little support from NGOs and renewable energy advocates when it criticised the Coalition changes as a sleight of hand.
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1 Comment
  1. Brendan Lee 4 years ago

    “Labor announced that it would not fight the changes to ARENA, because it received little support from NGOs and renewable energy advocates when it criticised the Coalition changes as a sleight of hand.”

    I read that as labor needs their hands held to do the right thing.
    Good job.

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