The Australian government has this week given a regulatory – and financial – boost to development of new low-emission technologies under the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). The government has provided $192m in funding to help support low-emissions technology projects (such as clean hydrogen and biofuels) under a series of new programs.
These programs were first outlined by ARENA in the 2020-21 Federal Budget, and the new funding is hoped to get these programs off the ground. These include; the Future Fuels Fund, Industrial Energy Transformation Studies Program, Regional Australia Microgrids Pilot Program and the Freight Efficiency Assistance Grants and the Freight Energy Productivity Trial Program.
Low-emission technologies anticipated to receive attention include energy storage, clean hydrogen, carbon capture & storage, and low-emission aluminium and steel production – to name a few.
Emerging low-carbon technologies have received increased financial attention over the past year, with the government last year announcing a total funding package of $1.62 billion for ARENA, including a guaranteed baseline funding of $1.43 billion over the next decade. Only last month, ARENA announced it would be putting almost $25m towards the roll out of more than 400 public fast-charging stations for EV’s around the country.
“We still have a lot of work to do to reduce Australia’s emissions and we still have a long way to go in the global energy transition,” said ARENA CEO Darren Miller in a statement. “Technological innovation will be at the centre of our efforts to achieve net zero in the years ahead and we welcome the opportunity to be a key delivery vehicle for the priority technologies highlighted in the first Low Emissions Technology Statement.”
“As technologies have matured, ARENA’s focus has evolved from supporting pure renewable energy generation technologies to assisting with the integration of renewables into the grid,” he added.
“Having proven we can improve the competitiveness and reduce the cost of renewable energy, we are aiming to drive these costs down further. Beyond the electricity sector, where the transition is just beginning, we are helping to build Australia’s hydrogen export industry and helping to decarbonise other parts of the economy including heavy industry.”