The Government has expanded the functions of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to support the next generation of low emissions technologies that will reduce emissions and create new economic opportunities and jobs.
From today, new regulations take effect that broaden ARENA’s mandate to enable the agency to play an important role in stimulating investment that will help achieve the Technology Investment Roadmap stretch goals as well as energy efficiency measures.
The Roadmap identified five priority new and emerging technologies for Government investment:
- Clean hydrogen;
- Long duration energy storage;
- Low carbon materials, including aluminium and steel;
- Carbon capture and storage; and
- New measurement technologies for healthier soils.
The Government previously provided ARENA with $1.4 billion of new, guaranteed baseline funding to support these new and emerging technologies, and an additional $192.5 million to deliver a series of targeted programs:
- $71.9 million to support new electric vehicle charging and hydrogen-refuelling infrastructure;
- $24.5 million to support higher productivity and lower emissions in Australia’s heavy vehicle fleets;
- $47.0 million to support large energy-using businesses to identify opportunities to adopt new technologies and increase productivity; and
- $52.6 million for microgrids in regional Australia.
These programs will create at least 1,400 jobs and deliver 16.5 million tonnes of emissions reductions.
Expanding ARENA’s remit to unlock the transformative low emissions technologies that businesses need was a recommendation of the King Review.
The International Energy Agency recently found that more than half of the emissions reductions required to achieve global net zero will come from technologies that are not yet commercial.
Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said investing in technology research and development was central to the Government’s technology not taxes emissions reduction agenda.
“Getting new, low emissions technologies to economic parity as soon as possible is the only way to reduce emissions without imposing new costs on households, businesses or the economy,” Minister Taylor said.
“This change allows ARENA to support technologies that can reduce emissions across all sectors of the economy.
“These changes have received wide industry support from over 28 businesses, peak bodies, and climate change groups including the Business Council of Australia, the AiGroup, the National Farmers Federation, ClimateWorks Australia and the Investor Group for Climate Change – and ARENA.
“When it comes to reducing emissions, if it’s not technology it has to be taxes.
“By disallowing the previous regulations Labor delayed the creation of 1,400 jobs and rollout of these programs.
“Taxes are Labor’s track record and under Chris Bowen as Treasurer, Labor’s carbon tax reached record highs.”
The Government has committed to 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 and will be guided by the Technology Investment Roadmap process, and delivered by agencies like ARENA, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the Clean Energy Regulator and CSIRO.
Since 2012, ARENA has supported 602 projects with $1.77 billion in grant funding, unlocking $7.75 billion of total investment, leveraging $3.38 of investment from the private sector and other levels of government for every $1 of Commonwealth funding.