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Australian Environmental Minister Continues To Publicly Support Renewable Energy

Australia’s Environmental Minister Greg Hunt has continued to publicly support renewable energy technologies in the wake of the recent shift in leadership.

Speaking on ABC radio on Tuesday morning, Mr Hunt (mostly) confirmed that the Liberal Party, under the new leadership of Malcolm Turnbull, its new leader and subsequently Australia’s new Prime Minister, will be supporting the renewable energy sector and opening up support for emerging technologies.

In an interview with radio host Fran Kelly, Mr Hunt explained that, along with the Prime Minister and newly elevated Energy Minister, Josh Frydenberg, he is “deliberately and consciously saying to the [renewable energy] sector — there is a major role for innovation and you should have confidence.”

Mr Hunt went on to say that the country’s Renewable Energy Target is “rock solid,” as are the Emissions Reduction Fund and international targets. “What has changed is a greater emphasis on confidence and on innovation in the renewable sector.”

This means, according to Mr Hunt, that the renewable energy has a big task ahead of it “to double our large-scale renewables and our small-scale — or what’s often known as PV and solar hot water — renewables between now and 2020.”

And investors should take Mr Hunt’s words as means for confidence in the Australian renewable energy sector — confidence that has been missing for several years now. Greg Hunt has suffered through several years of kowtowing to backwards-thinking policy when under the leadership of former Prime Minister Tony Abbott. There has always been a whiff of frustration from Mr Hunt, whenever he was forced to talk to the public about the top-down environmental policies enacted by his party.

Mr Hunt also commented on the future of wind in Australia. When asked about a letter that was supposedly sent to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to not invest in wind, Mr Hunt prevaricated around the letter itself, but instead said that there was no longer “a blanket ban on technologies.” Specifically, Mr Hunt said that the CEFC should “have focus on things such as solar, geothermal — and if there are emerging components in relation to wind, such as new turbines or offshore wind, that might be an appropriate way” for the CEFC to invest in wind.

Mr Hunt also made mention of the announcement of a Federal Government investment of $3.5 million into a solar plant to be developed in North Queensland. The $23.4 million solar plant will supply energy to Weipa’s bauxite mine, processing facilities, township, and port, to displace diesel usage.

“The Australian Government, through ARENA, has provided $3.5 million support towards this landmark project, which is set to demonstrate that solar PV power is a reliable and cost effective energy option for off-grid commercial operations and remote communities,” Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt said.

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