Australia’s new carbon pricing mechanism, which came into effect on 1 July 2012, will help drive investment in clean energy and heralds a new era for renewables, according to Australian clean energy industry associations and companies.

Of the new carbon price, Clean Energy Council acting Chief Executive Kane Thornton said “For the first time, Australia has a comprehensive set of policies to nurture new clean energy technology from the first light bulb moment of inspiration all the way through to maturity.

“An initiative made possible by a price on carbon is the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which will use revenue from the country’s biggest polluters to unlock up to $100 billion worth of private capital.”

The mechanism will see carbon priced at $23 per tonne, rising by 2.5 per cent each year during a three-year fixed price period until 1 July 2015, when the mechanism will transition to an emissions trading scheme with a price determined by the market.

Approximately 500 Australian businesses will be required to pay for their carbon emissions under the plan, and much of the revenue collected will support investment in research, project development and employment growth in the clean energy industry such as through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

Companies including Vestas, Pacific Hydro, AGL Energy, Infigen Energy and GE also signed the statement, which noted that businesses hold the keys to tackling human-induced climate change and move Australia towards a cleaner economy.The Australian Solar Energy Society said that the carbon price signals a new chapter for Australian clean energy. The Society, along with 299 other organisations representing a variety of sectors, signed a statement congratulating the Federal Government on introducing the carbon price. The Sustainable Energy Association of Australia (SEA) said that it will join the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in scrutinising electricity pricing to ensure that renewable electricity tariffs do not increase with a price on carbon.

“The ACCC has warned the business community to not raise consumer prices before the impact of the carbon tax on their own costs have been properly evaluated,” SEA said.

“The ACCC has highlighted that the only commodity that can easily document this impact is the electricity generation industry, and this will be reflected in their tariffs from 1 July 2012 as generators can readily evaluate the impact of a $23 per tonne price on carbon on their fossil fuel costs.”

SEA also expects that electricity retailers around Australia will review tariff rates offered for renewable energy buyback from domestic and business customers, as renewable energy effectively became more valuable as of 1.

(article taken from eco generation)

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