Australia’s 2009-10 Federal Budget has added $4.8 billion dollars to funds earmarked for projects related to climate change and carbon emission reduction – bringing its total commitment to $15 billion. Just a year ago, after the 2008-09 Budget, the total funding was just $2.3 billion, almost entirely allocated to "clean coal".
From the new funds, $2 billion will be spent over nine years developing between two and four industrial scale carbon capture and storage projects. These are expected to include a carbon dioxide storage hub and projects to demonstrate a range of technologies to capture carbon dioxide from coal-fired power stations.
$1.5 billion will be spent over six years on building four large-scale solar power plants to generate up to one gigawatt of electricity – about as much as a coal-fired power station and almost three times as much as the largest solar power plant currently in operation. According to the Melbourne Age, one of these "solar flagship" projects will be a solar farm in the Mildura region originally announced by then-Prime Minister John Howard but without any commitment of Federal funds. The Victorian Government has already promised to contribute $100 million to the project if it goes ahead. (See http://www.aussierenewables.com.au/news/?p=31 for more on this proposal.)
The government will also establish a new organization, to be called Renewables Australia, which will receive $465 million over four years to support the development and commercialization of renewable-energy technology.