ARENA scope widens to cover new energy technologies
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s remit has been broadened to enable it to support renewable energy and low, zero and negative emissions technologies.
The expanded areas of interest cover hydrogen, energy storage and backup renewable energy, low emissions aluminium and steel production, carbon capture
and soil carbon.
Last year the Federal Government announced a total funding package of $1.62 billion for ARENA including guaranteed baseline funding of $1.43 billion over the next 10 years.
The funding and expanded set of technologies will allow ARENA to continue to work with energy industry participants, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, research institutions and other agencies to support innovation in clean energy technologies.
ARENA Chief Executive Officer Darren Miller said the changes allowed it 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,” he said.
“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.”
ARENA has supported 586 projects with $1.7 billion in grant funding, unlocking $6.92 billion of total investment in renewable energy.
It recently announced funding for two green hydrogen pilot projects in WA, $42.5 million for Engie Renewables Australia’s project to use renewables to produce ammonia in the Pilbara, and $28.7 million for ATCO to produce hydrogen for gas blending in existing natural gas pipelines.
The National Hydrogen Strategy has said an Australian hydrogen industry could generate about 8000 jobs and $11 billion a year in GDP by 2050.
The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association said the ARENA changes would help Australia reach net zero emission targets.
APPEA Chief Executive Andrew McConville said expanding the focus of ARENA to include a broader range of emissions reduction technologies, including carbon capture and storage and hydrogen, was the right move for a clean energy future.
“Developing a local hydrogen industry could enable lower emissions both in Australia and internationally, reduce energy costs, deliver energy security, together with new employment and manufacturing opportunities,” Mr McConville said.