Australia blocks government funding for wind farm

Source: By By Devin Henry, The Hill • Posted: Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Australian government is blocking the country’s $7.4 billion renewable energy fund from investing in wind power.

Officials in Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s government have instructed the country’s Clean Energy Finance Corp. to change its investment strategy and move away from wind power, Bloomberg Business reports.

Abbott said the fund should be “investing in new and emerging technologies and certainly not existing wind farms.” Abbott eventually wants to abolish the renewable energy fund altogether.
A government minister said that the fund should focus on on new renewable energy technology and not established ones, like wind, that can secure funding from the private sector.

But an industry spokesman said ending the fund’s wind investment is part of an “extraordinary and prolonged attack on a viable industry,” and that Abbott is “hammering in the final nail to the coffin of wind energy investment himself.”

About one-third of the clean energy fund’s proposals are wind power related, according to Bloomberg. The country is looking to create up to 33,000 gigawatt hours of renewable energy by 2020.

Abbott said on Monday that his government will release its post-2020 carbon emissions target in August, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Australian officials have pledged to lower emissions by 5 percent before 2020 ahead of a United Nations climate conference later this year.

But environmental groups have criticized that goal and called on the government to reduce its emissions even further. The country’s Climate Change Authority says Australia should target a 30 percent cut in emissions from 2000 levels by 2025.

Abbott said that other countries’ climate targets amount to “airy-fairy promises” that they might not be able to meet. He said his emissions goal will come out after his cabinet reviews it next month.

“We’ll take a very strong and credible position to Paris,” Abbott said. “This government doesn’t get enough credit, Australia doesn’t get enough credit, for the emissions reduction work that we have already done.”