The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has launched its new Investment Plan that outlines three new priority areas to further improve the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies and increase the supply of renewable energy in Australia.
ARENA is an independent agency of the Federal Government and was established in July 2012 under the Australian Renewable Energy Act 2011. Its purpose is to accelerate Australia’s shift to affordable and reliable renewable energy.
Since its establishment, ARENA has invested in 478 renewable energy projects with a total project value of $5.49 billion and has driven innovations in solar PV, batteries, biofuels, hydrogen, solar thermal, ocean energy and more.
In a bid to sharpen its investment focus, ARENA funding will be directed towards projects that support the integration of renewables in the electricity system, accelerate the development of Australia’s hydrogen industry for domestic and export, and support industry to reduce emissions.
ARENA CEO, Darren Miller, explained that the agency’s investment priorities were updated following consultation with industry and government and to focus on areas that can best assist with the energy transition underway in Australia.
“The transition is underway but there is still a lot of work to do and ARENA has the expertise and deep understanding of the renewable energy sector to help address the long term needs.”
Mr Miller commented that ARENA’s new investment priorities are geared towards future-proofing Australia’s energy system and economy and helping to further unlock the nation’s vast renewable resources.
“We need to overcome the challenge of integrating renewables into the grid as we switch to an electricity system that is more complex, more decentralised and more variable,” he said.
“We need to launch a hydrogen industry to create opportunities across the domestic economy and to help position Australia to become a major renewable energy superpower through exporting hydrogen.”
“Finally, we need to support industry, which accounts for around 40 per cent of total final energy use in Australia, as they transition to renewables and look to reduce emissions.”
Without ARENA’s financial support, the pathway to commercialisation would be blocked for many new technologies and businesses, so the agency has an important role to play now and into the future.
ARENA’s new Investment Plan can be found here.