The Australian Government’s new $100 million Emerging Renewables Program will support the development of renewable energy and enabling technologies in Australia.
Overview of the Emerging Renewables Program
The new $100 million Emerging Renewables Program will implement the key recommendation by the Australian Centre for Renewable Energy (ACRE) Board in its Strategic Directions to consolidate the Australian Government’s $40 million election commitment with ACRE’s existing unallocated funds. Under the Emerging Renewables Program, at least $40 million will be available for developing technologies with potential to provide large-scale base load power generation, such as ocean and geothermal.
The Emerging Renewables Program forms part of a total $690 million in funding administered by ACRE. The Emerging Renewables Program is part of the Government’s $5 billion Clean Energy Initiative (CEI) and an important part of the Government’s long term strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide energy security. It will operate as part of an integrated approach alongside the $100 million Renewable Energy Venture Capital Fund (REVCF), to support the development of renewable energy and enabling technologies in Australia.
Key Program Characteristics
The ACRE Board’s Strategic Directions recommends a new and innovative approach to the design of renewable energy funding programs in Australia, to be reflected in the design of the Government’s Emerging Renewables Program.
The ACRE Board recommends a flexible and integrated approach to funding renewable energy technology across the innovation chain. The key design features recommended include:
- The Emerging Renewables Program should offer funding to support renewable energy and enabling technology projects to progress technologies to the next stage along the innovation chain and to lower the cost of renewable energy in Australia;
- renewable energy measures that may involve renewable energy industry skills development, capacity building, knowledge sharing and collaboration.
- Emerging Renewables Program applications should be accepted on an ongoing basis.
- A two-stage application process should be implemented, involving an initial Expression of Interest (EOI) followed by an invitation for selected applicants to submit a full application for funding.
- ACRE may offer to work with prospective applicants to provide guidance on the suitability of their project against the merit criteria, and how such suitability could be demonstrated in the full application.
- ACRE should seek to refer projects, where appropriate, to any other available funding programs or support mechanisms and identify any opportunities for co-funding or collaboration between prospective projects.
- Funded projects should be subject to ongoing reviews of the project’s performance, including technical and commercial reviews, to ensure they continue to meet ACRE’s objective. Through this review process, ACRE would have the capacity to withdraw support so that funds can be redirected to other more promising areas.
How will applications be assessed?
The ACRE Board will be responsible for assessing applications for the Emerging Renewables Program providing for the strategic development of Australian renewable energy and enabling technologies across the innovation chain.
Emerging Renewables Program applications would be assessed for value for money against merit criteria, including:
- the potential of the technology to deliver economic benefits to Australia from lowering the cost of renewable energy
- technical feasibility of the project and potential to progress along the innovation chain
- commercial prospects
- management capacity and track record of the applicant
- the project plan, including funding sources to progress the technology along the innovation chain
- the project risk.
Importantly, ACRE would adopt an outcome-oriented approach where funding is prioritised to projects and measures consistent with the ACRE technology priorities as outlined in the ACRE Strategic Directions.
ACRE will subject all Emerging Renewables Program proposals to rigorous expert review of technology potential, commercial prospects and management capacity.
How much funding can I apply for?
The ACRE Board recommends the Emerging Renewables Program seek to maximise public value and the projected economic benefits from limited ACRE funds, recognising that competing technologies will warrant different levels of support. Increasing collaboration and thereby leveraging funds from the private sector and governments is a key consideration.
In considering how much funding to apply for, potential Emerging Renewables Program applicants should be cognisant that ACRE seeks to encourage private sector and other government investments. Applicants will be required to justify the level of ACRE funding they apply for.
When will applications open?
ACRE expects to launch the Emerging Renewables Program and open for applications in mid-2011. At that time, detailed information on the Emerging Renewables Program, including program guidelines and application forms will be available at www.acre.gov.au.
Potential applicants may contact ACRE to register to receive an email when the Emerging Renewables Program is launched.
- ACRE Emerging Renewables Program
- Clean Energy Division
- Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism
- GPO Box 1564
- Canberra ACT 2601
- Email: [email protected]