The Clean Energy Council (CEC) says the Federal Government’s carbon tax is a "once in a generation" opportunity for Australia to boost the renewable energy sector and transition to a low-carbon economy.
"The uncertainty surrounding this issue to date has stifled new investment and we look forward to the cleaner energy investment that this package will deliver," a statement from the industry body read.
CEC Director of Strategy Kane Thornton believes the carbon tax will "turbo charge the clean energy sector" by boosting investment in an industry let down by successive governments in Australia.
"It will support the accelerated roll out of proven clean energy technologies like solar power, wind power and bioenergy while also allowing Australia to develop new technologies like geothermal, ocean and large scale solar."
Mr Thornton singled out the new $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which will use carbon price revenue to develop private investment into early stage renewable energy technologies.
Thornton says the creation of independent bodies like the CEFC and the new Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to oversee funding and provide critical advice on renewable energy policy to government while operating outside the everyday political cycle, will ensure focus is kept on providing maximum value for investment money and the clean energy sector.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard yesterday released details of the carbon tax package, to come into effect next year. At cost of $23 per ton of carbon dioxide emitted, to be paid by the nation’s top 500 polluters, the tax will reap a staggering $25 billion in its first year alone, the majority of which will be paid directly to households as tax breaks and other payments and as compensation to trade-exposed industries as they shift towards more energy efficient technology.
National solar power solutions provider Energy Matters pointed out that while the financial injection for large-scale solar was welcome, additional targeted support for residential and commercial solar power systems had been overlooked. The company says that small and medium scale solar technologies have advantages over large scale, and as such, should also have access to the funding.