Australian Youth Climate Coalition

The latter part of 2018 will be remembered for the re-emergence of climate action on the national agenda.

About 100 people attended a community celebration in Port Augusta on September 2 to mark a huge win for the local community: the state government’s support for Australia’s first solar thermal power plant with storage in Port Augusta.

This was the culmination of a seven-year campaign and it will have a far-reaching impact on the future of renewable energy in this country. US company SolarReserve will begin construction of the 150MW plant in 2018. It is expected to be completed in 2020.

"We will do everything we can to make sure Westpac decides they won't fund the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef and the Adani coal mine," Amy Gordon, from the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC), told a crowd of about 200 outside the head office of Westpac Bank on February 20. The rallies were organised by the AYCC and 350.org.

The proposed Sustainable Cities Investment Fund, unveiled by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on June 20, would take up to $100 million a year from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to stimulate private sector investment in renewable energy and clean technology in Australia's major cities.

But industry groups say it means nearly one-third of the supposedly independent CEFC's budget has been corralled by the government for “pet projects” announced during the lead up to the election campaign.

On March 23 Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced a new Clean Energy Innovation Fund (CEIF) with $1 billion in funding over ten years. The Prime Minister's media release explicitly mentioned that it could be used to fund projects such as a “large scale solar facility with storage in Port Augusta”.

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