The Federal Government’s reforms to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) have received support from Parliament, expanding its remit.
ARENA is now able to support a broader range of technologies to advance the priorities of the Government’s Technology Investment Roadmap.
The Federal Government will invest $20 billion in new energy technologies by 2030, to drive at least $80 billion of total public and private investment over the decade. This investment is expected to support at least 160,000 new jobs.
The Federal Government said ARENA will now play a major role in driving investments in the next generation of technologies, including:
- Energy efficiency
- Carbon capture technologies (including CCUS and negative emissions technologies)
- Blue hydrogen (clean hydrogen from gas using CCS)
- Energy storage technologies to back up renewable energy and soil carbon
The regulatory change also allows ARENA to implement $192.5 million of programs in the 2020-21 Budget, including:
- $67.9 million to support for heavy vehicle fuel efficiency and industrial energy efficiency
- $71.9 million to support hydrogen and electric vehicle infrastructure as part of the Government’s Future Fuels Fund
- $52.6 million to support microgrids for regional Australia
These programs are estimated to create 1,400 direct and indirect jobs and support more affordable and reliable power in regional Australia, new transport infrastructure and increase the competitiveness of energy-intensive industries.
Expanding ARENA’s remit to unlock the transformative low emissions technologies that businesses need was a recommendation of the King Review.
The Government’s Technology Investment Roadmap and Low Emissions Technology Statements aims to follow these recommendations, with support of agencies like ARENA.