The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has launched the first funding round of the $400 million Industrial Transformation Stream (ITS) which is set to support emissions reduction at industrial facilities across regional Australia. 

The ITS is part of the Powering the Regions Fund, the design of which was finalised by the Federal Government in the 2023-24 Federal Budget

Round one will see $150 million of ITS funding be made available primarily for applications focusing on regional decarbonisation of industrial process heat and off-road transportation. 

The program builds on ARENA’s priority in low emissions metals and previous work under existing programs to drive innovation and support industry to reduce their emissions. 

ARENA has worked closely with the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water throughout the development of the guidelines for the ITS Program, which will complement other programs under the Powering the Regions Fund.

The program is expected to support projects ranging from studies to demonstrations and deployment. Opportunities may address a wide range of solutions, including energy efficiency, electrification, and any renewable energy technologies that support industrial decarbonisation (e.g. fuel switching to renewable fuels, solar thermal systems or zero emission vehicles). Enabling technologies such as energy storage or load flexibility/demand management and critical infrastructure to support on site industrial decarbonisation will also be considered. 

Accounting for approximately 44 per cent of total Australian emissions, the decarbonisation of industry is critical to progressing Australia’s 2030 and 2050 net zero targets. Target sectors with a high emissions abatement opportunity include agriculture, electricity, gas, water and waste, mining, manufacturing and off-road transport. 

ARENA CEO, Darren Miller, said that progress in the industrial sector is vital to achieving Australia’s emissions reduction goals and will set the nation up as a renewable energy superpower that will maintain jobs and economic activity, and capitalise on the world’s shift to green products. 

“ARENA is ready to increase its commitment to industrial decarbonisation and provide assistance to help in the clean energy transition for this sector,” Mr Miller said. 

“Now is the perfect opportunity for the industrial sector to make a meaningful change to adapt and future proof their businesses as we head towards net zero emissions.” 

Federal Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen, said that when designing policies to reduce industrial emissions, it was critical that the Government provided support for industries of strategic importance. 

“We’re ensuring that the regions that have always powered Australia are the same regions that will power us into the future through the global economic transformation to net zero,” Mr Bowen said. 

Round one of the ITS Focus Areas has launched, with applications accepted from 30 November and run until December 2024, or until funds are exhausted or otherwise updated at ARENA’s discretion. Potential applicants are encouraged to reach out to ARENA prior to online submission. 

ARENA’s existing $40 million Industrial Energy Transformation Studies Program (IETS) remains open to support feasibility and engineering studies and associated metering that can enable an investment decision in energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions for industrial processes.

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