The Australian Government has implemented changes to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s (ARENA) legislation that will enable the Agency to support the next generation of energy technologies. ARENA will continue to support Australian innovation and R&D in renewable energy, as well as low, zero and negative emissions technologies.
The broadened remit will allow ARENA to support technologies contained in the Low Emissions Technology Statement (LETS) such as hydrogen, energy storage to back up renewable energy, low emissions aluminium and steel production, carbon capture and soil carbon.
In addition, the regulation will ensure that ARENA can deliver the targeted programs outlined in the 2020-21 Federal Budget; the Future Fuels Fund, Industrial Energy Transformation Studies Program, Regional Australia Microgrids Pilot Program and the Freight Energy Productivity Program.
Last year the Australian Government announced a total funding package of $1.62 billion for ARENA including guaranteed baseline funding of $1.43 billion over the next ten years.
The funding and expanded set of technologies will allow ARENA to continue to work together with energy industry participants, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, research institutions and other agencies to support innovation in clean energy technologies across the innovation chain.
ARENA is also working on the four targeted Budget Measures that will support more affordable and reliable power in regional Australia, new transport infrastructure and increase the competitiveness of energy-intensive industries.
ARENA CEO Darren Miller welcomed the mandate change as an opportunity for ARENA to broaden its role in helping Australia to reduce emissions and undertake the Budget Measures.
“This allows ARENA to continue to be the Agency that works at the forefront of innovation. As technologies such as solar and wind mature, we must be able to move forward and support the next generation of clean energy technologies.
“We still have a lot of work to do to reduce Australia’s emissions, but we’re encouraged by the support the Australian Government has placed in ARENA to be a key delivery vehicle for the Technology Investment Roadmap,” Mr Miller said.
Over its lifetime, ARENA has helped to improve the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies such as large-scale solar, pumped hydro, battery storage, distributed energy and hydrogen.
ARENA has supported 586 projects with $1.7 billion in grant funding, unlocking $6.92 billion of total investment in renewable energy.
“As technologies have matured, ARENA’s focus has evolved from supporting pure renewable energy generation technologies to assisting with the integration of these technologies to support the operation of the system with ever increasing shares of variable renewable energy.”
ARENA’s current investment priorities include a focus on integrating renewables into the grid, accelerating the uptake of hydrogen and supporting industry to reduce emissions.