End of solar rebates?

The Federal Government is reviewing all its climate change related spending programs, worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The Government is assessing whether they will be needed after Australia has established an emissions trading scheme. The aim of the review, according to Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner, is to assess whether the existing patchwork of schemes are efficient or could be better designed. Citigroup’s public-sector group head Roger Wilkins will be conducting the review, which will examine whether subsidies to promote alternative energies or particular technologies will be needed, while the government looks for savings of $3 billion to $4 billion next year. The budget initiatives, worth $156 million over four years, included $96.7 million over four years to establish the Australian Centre for Climate Change, $2.3 million over four years for coal mine methane reduction, a $39.1 million expansion of the photovoltaic rebate program, and $18.4 million over four years for a global initiative on forests and climate.

The former federal government also provided $336.1 million over four years for green vouchers in schools after the election and $252.2 million for rebates for solar hot water systems. The renewable energy development initiative provides funding of up to $100 million in competitive grants to allocate to businesses over seven years for research and development, proof-of-concept and early stage commercialisation projects with high commercial and greenhouse gas abatement potential.