The Australian Government has introduced new regulations that will enable the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to support the next generation of energy technologies.
The regulations will ensure that ARENA can deliver the targeted programs outlined in the 2020-21 Federal Budget (Programs) including the Future Fuels Fund, Industrial Energy Transformation Studies Program, Regional Australia Microgrids Pilot Program and the Freight Efficiency Assistance Grants and the Freight Energy Productivity Trial Program.
ARENA has been provided $192.5 million to deliver the Programs including supporting microgrids in regional Australia, reducing barriers to the use of electric vehicles or vehicles powered by biofuels or clean hydrogen and investigating energy efficiency and emissions reduction in energy-intensive industries. Last month, ARENA announced nearly $25 million would go towards the roll out of more than 400 public fast charging stations for electric vehicles across the country, as part of the Future Fuels Fund.
Under the regulations, ARENA will also be able to support priority low emission technologies identified in the first Low Emissions Technology Statement including clean hydrogen, energy storage, low emissions aluminium and steel, carbon capture and storage and soil carbon.
Under the ARENA Act, which remains unchanged, ARENA will continue to support renewable energy projects.
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.
ARENA CEO Darren Miller said these changes give ARENA a broadened remit to help Australia to reduce emissions in the Government’s priority technologies and undertake the budget programs.
“We still have a lot of work to do to reduce Australia’s emissions and we still have a long way to go in the global energy transition. Technological innovation will be at the centre of our efforts to achieve net zero in the years ahead and we welcome the opportunity to be a key delivery vehicle for the priority technologies highlighted in the first Low Emissions Technology Statement.
Over its lifetime, ARENA has supported 602 projects with $1.77 billion in grant funding, unlocking $7.7 billion of total investment. ARENA has helped to improve the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies such as solar, pumped hydro, grid scale batteries, distributed energy and hydrogen. These changes will enable ARENA to continue to invest in renewable energy as well as priority low emission technologies and to deliver the budget programs.
“As technologies have matured, ARENA’s focus has evolved from supporting pure renewable energy generation technologies to assisting with the integration of renewables into the grid.
Having proven we can improve the competitiveness and reduce the cost of renewable energy, we are aiming to drive these costs down further. Beyond the electricity sector, where the transition is just beginning, we are helping to build Australia’s hydrogen export industry and helping to decarbonise other parts of the economy including heavy industry.”
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Implementing the Technology Roadmap) Regulations 2021 came into effect on Friday 30 July. This regulation follows the earlier disallowance of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency Amendment (2020-21 Budget Programs) Regulation 2021.