At the Paris climate conference, Malcolm Turnbull has committed an additional $100 million in spending on clean energy innovation.
This pledge is part of a $10 billion increase in public investment into clean energy innovation from a group of 21 countries, including the US, China, Britain, Germany, Brazil & India.
This commitment will sit alongside the recently announced Breakthrough Energy Coalition, a group of 25 investors including billionaires Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, Reid Hoffman and Jeff Bezos. As most Australian scientists and research institutions are well aware, the Bill & Melissa Gates Foundation has successfully invested more than $40 billion into research projects, granting millions of dollars at a time to research projects that are directed towards enhancing healthcare and reducing poverty. It is hoped that, in the near future, Australian clean energy innovators will have access to grants from the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, in addition to investment from the Australian Government.
The situation for clean technology innovation in Australia is now looking much more promising than in 2014, when the Abbott government attempted to scrap the $10 million Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
So where will the additional $100 million committed by Malcolm Turnbull be invested? Professor Richard Corkish from The University of NSW has already commented that he expects interest in its solar energy research to be “vastly” boosted on the back of Malcolm Turnbull’s comments in his speech at the climate conference. In his speech, Malcolm Turnbull commented that Australian universities are "at the forefront of energy and climate science innovation" and “by 2018 over 60 per cent of the world's solar cells are to use technology developed by Australian researchers”. We are looking forward to seeing the details of where and how the $100 million will be invested. The next trick will be finding ways to link Australia’s world class research institutions with Australian business to capture and commercialise the outcomes of R&D investment.