The Morrison Government’s reforms to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to support the next generation of low emissions technologies have been supported by the Australian Parliament.
The Government has defeated a motion of disallowance supported by Labor and the Greens after they did a deal to abandon clean tech and blue-collar jobs.
Under an expanded remit, ARENA is now able to support a broader range of technologies to advance the priorities of the Government’s Technology Investment Roadmap.
These reforms are about bringing a portfolio of technologies to commercial parity so we can reduce emissions across every sector of the economy, without destroying jobs or imposing taxes or new costs on households, businesses and industry.
To achieve this goal, the 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 will support at least 160,000 new jobs.
Since 2012, ARENA has supported 586 projects with $1.7 billion in grant funding, unlocking $6.92 billion of total investment in renewable energy. Through the 2020-21 Budget, the Government provided ARENA with $1.6 billion in new funding to enable the agency to play a new and expanded role in supporting the Roadmap’s five priority technologies.
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 is doing just this, with support of agencies like ARENA.
We look forward to getting on with the job, including supporting ARENA’s expanded role into energy efficiency, hydrogen, carbon capture technologies, energy storage for renewables, soil carbon technology and emissions reduction technologies for aluminium and steel.