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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Technology developers, researchers and other organisations are invited to submit applications for funding under relevant ARENA programmes.
The Advancing Renewables Programme is open for new applications.
Applications for the International Engagement Program close 15 December 2017.
As part of an ambitious goal to be emissions free by 2030, Monash University is partnering with ARENA and Indra Australia on the Smart Energy City project.
Harnessing the collective power of a 1 MW array of solar panels, 20 buildings with automated energy management systems, electric vehicle chargers and a 1 MW battery, the project will create a new microgrid at the university’s 57 year old Clayton campus.
Connected to the main electricity grid and controlled by software from Indra Australia, the smart network aims to demonstrate that a 100 per cent renewable electricity system can operate reliably and affordably, while reducing strain on the broader energy system.
ARENA is providing $2.97 million towards the $7.1 million trial, which will back up the university’s behind the meter assets with energy from a power purchase agreement with a renewable generator.
At the launch of the project, Indra’s Head of Energy Solutions Andres Molnar said the company has been developing their platform for a nearly a decade. With the ability to work in real-time with other intelligent assets at the edge of the grid, he said there is a bright future for the technology.
Becoming the first Australian university to set an energy reduction target in 2005, Monash has now developed the Net Zero initiative. Starting with the microgrid trial at Clayton, the plan aims to power all campuses with zero emissions renewable energy by 2030.
Monash University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Ken Sloan said he hopes that in the long-term the project will have benefits for the innovative technology precinct surrounding the Clayton campus.
“Within walking distance of this campus you are going to bump into some of the most innovative organisations,” Ken Sloan said.
“What we are hoping is this program will not only affect what happens within the boundary of this campus, but also spill over the road into other parts of the precinct, so that when we get to 2030, we will not only be talking about Monash as a Net Zero campus, but Monash as a city well on its way to being a Net Zero city,” he said.
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