Second phase underway for the Future Fuels and Vehicles strategy
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency has launched the Future Fuels Program to support fleets to shift to new zero-emissions vehicle technology.
The program includes a $127.9 million funding envelope to help vehicle fleet operators integrate ZEVs into their operations.
ARENA chief executive officer Darren Miller said the expanded program would build on the early successes of the Future Fuels Fund and drive the shift to ZEVs.
“Assisting fleet users to move to zero-emissions vehicles means getting more zero-emissions cars and trucks on the road sooner, driving the road transport sector toward a net-zero future,” Mr Miller said.
“By getting these vehicles on the road as soon as possible we’ll reduce emissions in the short term and help to create a market for secondhand vehicles in the future, giving more consumers the option of switching to a ZEV with their next vehicle purchase.”
Phase one of the Future Fuels and Vehicles Strategy included investing in electric vehicle charging and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure.
As part of phase one, ARENA awarded $24.55 million to five companies to construct 403 electric vehicle fast-charging stations across the country. The first station was completed and opened in November last year.
According to Infrastructure Australia’s National Highway Electric Vehicle Fast Charging report, electric vehicles could account for up to 100 per cent of new vehicle sales and more than 30 per cent of the vehicle fleet in Australia by 2040.
It said a key barrier to the adoption of EVs was a lack of access to charging stations.
“Although there has been an increase in charging stations since 2018, partly supplied by the private sector, the latest information from the Electric Vehicle Council suggests that Australia currently has less than 3,500 public charging stations, of which approximately 470 are fast charging,” it said.
ARENA’s strategy is to take a ‘fleet first’ approach to help businesses access low emission vehicles due to the potential savings on fuel and maintenance which can help offset higher upfront costs, as well as flood the secondhand market.
Hydrogen production is taking centre stage in the energy industry, with multiple major projects to kick start hydrogen production in WA being announced throughout 2021.
Woodside has announced its H2Perth project targeting around 110,000 tpa of hydrogen which has potential to scale to more than 3GW of energy.
bp announced at a recent Energy Club WA industry dinner its plan to convert its Kwinana refinery into a hydrogen production facility as part of its H2 Kwinana project.
Stage 1 of Infinite Blue Energy’s Arrowsmith Hydrogen Project is scheduled to commence production this year, ATCO Gas Australia is looking at blending up to 10% renewable-based hydrogen into gas networks around WA, and NW Interconnected Power’s 15MW hybrid generation Asian Renewable Energy Hub project will include exporting hydrogen derivatives including ammonia.
With the substantial number of hydrogen projects in the pipeline, Australia could soon see an influx of use of hydrogen vehicles.