The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) recently announced five priorities for new investment and a new, streamlined funding program structure.ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht made the announcements and also released ARENA’s updated General Funding Strategy and Investment Plan at a stakeholder event in Sydney.
The five priorities are:
- integrating renewables and grids
- renewables for use in industrial processes
- off grid areas
- fringe of grid and constrained sections of the grid
- large scale solar photovoltaics (PV).
“The five priorities represent current market imperatives or opportunities and are the main areas where ARENA investment can have the greatest impact at this point in time,” Mr Frischknecht said.
“To date, ARENA has invested $1.1 billion in 230 renewable energy projects across the innovation chain, with each funding dollar leveraging close to two dollars of funding from other sources – these targeted priorities will allow us to build on our existing portfolio, creating the conditions that will accelerate change.
“While ARENA will be actively pursuing these priorities, we will also continue to fund high merit projects in a further 12 areas as outlined in the Investment Plan.”
Mr Frischknecht said ARENA was streamlining its programme structure, making it simpler to apply for funding and cutting red tape.
“From 1 August we will transition to two funding programmes – the existing Research and Development (R&D) Programme and a new Advancing Renewables Programme, which will replace all other existing programmes,” Mr Frischknecht said.
“We will continue to run R&D funding rounds and will also announce targeted funding rounds through the Advancing Renewables Programme, which is open to high merit applications at any time.
We are proposing a new large scale solar auction for approximately 200 MW worth of projects, with $80-100 million support from ARENA, and will be seeking feedback shortly with the intention to open the round in September 2015.
Gordon's expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.