Up to $2.5B in funding is available from ARENA to make renewable energy solutions more affordable and increase the amount of renewable energy used in Australia.

 

Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)

Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is a commercially oriented agency. It was established on 1 July 2012 by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency Act 2011.

ARENA investments span the commercialisation pathway from research and development to demonstration and near-commercial deployment projects.

 

Objective

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) investments span the commercialisation pathway from research and development to demonstration and near-commercial deployment projects.  It takes a technology-neutral approach in considering project applications and has a mandate to capture and share knowledge from its projects.

ARENA have two objectives:

  • improve the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies
  • increase the supply of renewable energy in Australia.

 

ARENA Programmes

Research and Development Programme
Purpose:  To support world-class research and development in priority renewable energy technologies.

Availability:  Applications are accepted only during competitive rounds.

Advancing Renewables Programme
Purpose:  To support activities that reduce the cost or increase the value delivered of renewable energy, advance renewable energy technologies towards commercial readiness, reduce or remove barriers to uptake, or increase relevant skills, capacity and knowledge.

Availability:  Open to applications for all activities identified in the ARENA Investment Plan, other than those designated as competitive. Applications for the competitive activities are only accepted during competitive rounds.

Renewable Energy Venture Capital Fund Programme
Purpose:  To foster skills and management capability, and provide funding confidence to renewable energy projects to strengthen their chance of success.

Availability:  The REVC Fund supports the Southern Cross Renewable Energy Fund. Applicants should contact Southern Cross Venture Partners directly to discuss venture capital opportunities.

International Engagement Program

 

Funding

ARENA provides funding assistance to renewable energy activities according to the General Funding Strategy and Investment Plan. It has approximately $2.5 billion in funding, which is legislated and extends until 2022.

ARENA funds activities that are expected to advance renewable energy technologies towards commercial readiness, improve business models or reduce overall industry costs.

 

Eligible Projects

Projects must develop industry-research partnerships with at least one eligible Australian research institution (research partner) and at least one industry partner and address one or more of the four key technology focus areas.

Projects must address one or more of the following four key technology focus areas:

  1. Balance of System (BoS) cost reduction (either on-grid or off-grid)
    Development of new technologies or new applications of technologies and/or processes to reduce renewable energy system payback time and lower levelised cost of energy (LCOE).
    Balance of System is the non-generation part of the plant including both hard costs (eg inverter, electronics, etc) and soft costs. For example, in a solar PV plant it does not include the PV modules.
  1. Integration and high penetration of renewables into networks (either on-grid, off-grid or mini-grids)
    New technologies or applications of technologies, including associated financial and economic modelling, to address the challenges of integrating renewables and the grid, and increasing penetration levels.
  1. Integration of renewable energy for industrial process (excluding electricity generation)
    New applications of technologies, including associated new business models, for renewables to provide process heat or cooling where gas or other fossil fuels are typically used.
  1. Integration of renewable energy into buildings or building materials
    Development of innovative renewable technologies for building integrated applications (eg roofing, walls, windows, paint), or heating and/or cooling systems.

 

Eligible Applicants

Technology developers, researchers and other organisations are invited to submit applications for funding under relevant ARENA programmes.

 

Timing

The Advancing Renewables Programme is open for new applications.

Applications for the International Engagement Program close 15 December 2017.

 

More Information

 

Recipients

Gold Fields’ Agnew gold mine is already busy constructing the wind, solar, battery and gas hybrid facility at their site 1000 kilometres north east of Perth, which has received $13.5 million in funding from ARENA.

The hybrid microgrid will consist of an 18 MW wind farm with five wind turbines, a 4 MW solar farm with 10,000 panels and a 13 MW / 4 MWh hour battery underpinned by a gas power station.

Meanwhile, Perth-based renewable energy developer Advanced Energy Resources are building a $11.2 million wind, solar and battery at picturesque Port Gregory, situated 100 kilometres north of Geraldton on the Indian Ocean.

This project, supported by $3 million from ARENA, will help to power the nearby GMA garnet mining and processing operation providing up to 70 per cent of GMA’s electricity needs.

The project will be the first in Australia to use second-hand wind turbines which started their life in Germany. It is due to be commissioned in December.

The project also uses a novel approach to connecting wind and solar to the grid, overcoming the challenges of a weak, fringe of grid location through a design that decouples the wind, solar and battery from the grid via a DC link.

Both projects were announced at the Energy and Mines Conference in Perth, where ARENA CEO Darren Miller gave a keynote address that highlighted the long term opportunities for the mining sector to switch to renewable energy.

As the mining sector produces 21 times more energy than Australia’s electricity sector, and consumes four times more energy than the whole of the domestic economy, switching to renewable alternatives could have a big impact in the future.

Darren Miller says that the projects will blaze a clean energy trail for other mines in remote locations by demonstrating how renewable energy can reliably provide the majority of the electricity required to power critical mining loads.

“Fringe-of-grid communities in mid-west Western Australia suffer from network outages, so this is a great step forward in creating a template for other electricity users in similar conditions, to replicate and reduce electricity costs and improve reliability and stability,” he said.

The Gold Fields microgrid is expected to provide 55 to 60 per cent of the mine’s total energy requirements, with the potential to meet almost the entirety at certain times. To maximise the use of renewables, Gold Fields will adopt dynamic load shedding, forecasting of renewable generation and load management.

 

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