CEC: ARENA grants funding key for renewables innovation

Illustration/BPS' bioWAVE unit (Photo: CEC)

It is crucial that the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has clear and long-term access to grant funding to deliver the renewable energy innovation that will create a 21st century energy system, the Clean Energy Council said.

Kane Thornton, Clean Energy Council Chief Executive, said there is a clear case for the Federal Government to provide capital grants through ARENA to support innovation in exciting new renewable energy and battery storage technologies.

ARENA is a commercially oriented agency established by the Australian Government in 2012 whose aim is to improve the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies, and to increase the supply of renewable energy in Australia.

Thornton said the Federal Government’s current position to abolish future ARENA capital grant funding remained disappointing, effectively cutting Au$1.3 billion ($958 million) from the organization’s funding over the next decade.

“ARENA cannot build on its excellent track record of creating local employment, developing new industries and businesses in the clean energy supply chain – and bringing down the cost of these technologies through increased efficiency – without an appropriate level of funding,” Thornton said. “The end of capital grant funding would negatively affect the development of a range of technologies such as battery storage, large-scale solar, marine energy, sophisticated R&D and initiatives to develop a 21st century energy grid.”

Thornton welcomed the Australian Labor Party’s (ALP) commitment to 50% renewable energy by 2030 and future capital grant funding for ARENA, as well as ALP’s support for the Clean Energy Innovation Fund (CEIF).

“I was pleased to see the ALP support the Coalition’s welcome establishment of a new Clean Energy Innovation Fund (CEIF). This act of bipartisanship builds on the support of all major parties for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the current Renewable Energy Target. This new fund can play an important role in the development of clean energy by providing equity to assist in the development of key clean energy technologies,” said Thornton.

Clean Energy Council is an industry association made up of more than 550 member companies operating in the fields of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

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