Renewable energy sector to seek $4bn

19/04/2010 at 4:01 pm Leave a comment

THE renewable energy sector is calling for an extra $4 billion of commonwealth funding in the May budget to foster growth in geothermal and wave and tidal power ventures.

The Clean Energy Council, in a budget submission to the federal government, has also called for tax concessions for renewable energy companies.

The council’s chief executive, Matthew Warren, said it wanted the commonwealth to create a geothermal, wave and tidal equivalent of the solar flagships program.

Under the $1.5 billion solar flagships program, the federal government has provided one-third of the capital cost of two large solar plants.

The program has attracted interest from leading players in Europe and the US.

“If it works for large-scale solar, it’s logical you would experience the same in ocean wave and geothermal,” Mr Warren said.

He acknowledged investment in these sectors was not “risk free” but said there was a public good in funding them until greater support from equity markets was available. Australia’s fledgling geothermal sector includes just a handful of companies, with interest focused on South Australia’s Limestone Coast and Cooper Basin regions.

Development of wave and tidal power is arguably less advanced, although the listed Carnegie Wave Energy is developing a project in Perth and there is interest in harnessing tidal resources in Port Hedland and wave resources in Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania.

The Clean Energy Council commissioned Ernst & Young to develop recommendations for tax concessions for renewable energy and clean technology companies, which it has submitted to the Henry review of Australia’s tax system.

The report proposes a range of tax concessions, including accelerated depreciation for new clean-tech capital investment, tax deductions for exploration and prospecting, and tax credits for research and development.

The report also calls for capital gains tax concessions and exemptions as well as concessional treatment for dividends received for investment in clean technology.

Mr Warren said that government assistance for research and development was important as it was very hard for companies to raise the funds and protect their intellectual property because companies usually had to report any breakthroughs to keep the supply of funds coming.


Entry filed under: Green Finance, Incentives, Renewable Energy.

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