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Australia Set to Unveil Billions in Clean Energy Subsidies

Australia’s government is preparing to announce a major multi-billion support scheme to attract more investment in clean energy and curb outflows of capital to the U.S. and Europe, which already have massive subsidy initiatives to develop green energy solutions, the Australian Financial Review reported on Friday, citing unnamed sources.  

“You can see that in the unprecedented investments the United States and the EU and Japan and Korea are making in their industrial bases,” Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is expected to say in a speech later on Friday.  

The U.S. Inflation Reduction Act IRA has nearly $370 billion in climate and clean energy provisions, including investment and production credits for solar, wind, storage, critical minerals, funding for energy research, and credits for clean energy technology manufacturing such as wind turbines and solar panels.

The IRA is spurring a land rush for development sites and giving impetus to clean energy equipment manufacturing in the United States, which could see annual renewable capacity additions triple to 110 gigawatts (GW) in ten years, according to Wood Mackenzie.   

The EU responded to President Biden’s legislation with its own Green Deal Industrial Plan to preserve Europe’s competitiveness and prevent an exodus of production to the U.S. 

Now, Australia is set to join the global race for attracting investments in clean energy with a scheme expected to be a combination of subsidies and co-investment, according to Australian Financial Review’s sources. 

“This is the time when we have to get [it] right, the moment that matters,” Prime Minister Albanese is expected to say. 

Australia has supported separate green technologies but hasn’t had a major subsidy scheme to back those industries. 

Last year, Australia allocated $1.33 billion (AUS$2 billion) in the 2023-24 budget to accelerate large-scale renewable hydrogen projects, aiming to become a world leader in green hydrogen production. 

The country is a major producer of lithium, the key mineral in the current leading global battery technology, and of nickel, which is also crucial for battery manufacturing.  

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Earlier this week, Australia’s Federal Resources Minister Madeleine King placed nickel on the Critical Minerals List, giving nickel companies the opportunity to access billions of dollars in Commonwealth funding as they are reeling from low nickel prices. 

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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