12 May 2010

Herald Sun

Households will be encouraged to become more energy efficient under the largest renewable energy program ever seen.

The $652 million Renewable Energy Future Fund will support research and development into new low-emission technologies.

But the program only came about through funding freed up by the shelving of the Emissions Trading Scheme - and specific details of the commitments are yet to be announced.

The Government says climate change remains a major challenge and the new program will help with the transition to a ETS.

The recycled money is part of an expanded $5 billion Clean Energy Initiative.

With the ETS on the backburner, the Government has turned its attention to educating the public.

About $30 million will be spent over the next two years in a series of print, television and radio announcements to educate Australians about the science of climate change.

The Government did not announce any plan to replace the ETS with a new scheme.

Funding intended for the defunct home insulation program and the solar hot water rebate will be redirected to renewable energy.

But the cash was not enough to save a number of other environment projects.

There will be a $200 million cut over three years to the Green Car Innovation Fund, which was aimed at encouraging Australian companies to produce technology to lessen greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption.

Funding was also shaved from a scheme to promote rebates for rainwater tanks and grey water systems.

The Government said the cuts were due to "lower than expected demand".