Clean Energy Initiative
In May 2009, the Australian Government announced the establishment of the Clean Energy Initiative (initially $4.5 billion, but later increased to $5.1 billion) to support the growth of clean energy generation and new technologies, and to reduce carbon emissions and stimulate economic activity in a sector that will support thousands of new green-collar jobs. The Australian Government’s Clean Energy Initiative is administered principally by RET and the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (DIISR). The Clean Energy Initiative includes:
- $2.1 billion for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) (including the National Low Emission Coal Initiative, the CCS Flagships program, the National CO2 Infrastructure Plan and $100 million of the Education Investment Fund (EIF));
- $1.7 billion for Solar (including the Flagships program, Australian Solar Institute, United States/Australia Solar Initiative and $200 million of EIF funds);
- $0.7 billion for programs managed by the Australian Centre for Renewable Energy (including the Renewable Energy Demonstration Program, Renewable Energy Venture Capital Fund and Emerging Renewables); and
- $0.5 billion in other Clean Energy Initiative programs (Low Emission Technology Demonstration Fund and Connecting Renewables Initiative).
A series of audits examining the Clean Energy Initiative would be conducted as the implementation of its programs progresses. A performance audit of the Renewable Energy Demonstration program is currently underway. The Solar Initiative is likely to be the next component to be subject to an audit.
Smart Grid, Smart City
The Australian Government has committed up to $100 million under the Smart Grid, Smart City program to gather information about the costs and benefits of smart grids in order to inform future decisions by government, electricity providers, technology suppliers and consumers across Australia. After a competitive grants process, in June 2010 the Australian Government announced Energy Australia as the successful bidder to demonstrate Australia’s first commercial-scale smart grid, based in Newcastle. The initiative is being delivered by RET, in consultation with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, and the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.
An audit would examine the administration of the Smart Grid, Smart City program, including the selection process and progress towards achieving the program’s objective.