Although ARENA has identified these five areas as priorities,
the Investment Plan states that exceptional proposals will be
considered for funding even if they fall outside the defined
ARENA'S FUNDING PRIORITIES
ARENA's funding priorities are grouped into three broad
Theme one: Addressing barriers to the long-term uptake
Under this theme ARENA will put funding towards integrating
renewable energy with the grid and improving the efficiency of our
existing electricity distribution system. Specifically, ARENA wants
to invest in projects that improve electricity supply chain
efficiency, integrate renewable energy into the low-voltage network
and facilitate knowledge sharing between all parties in the
electricity supply chain.
Theme two: Helping renewable energy technologies meet
energy users' needs
Under theme two ARENA will be investing in projects that apply
renewable energy technologies to a wider range of sectors. ARENA
aims to promote renewable energy as a viable alternative within
industrial processes, for off-grid and fringe-of-grid services and
for residential and commercial buildings. ARENA has also pledged
$80-100 million for up to 200MW of large-scale solar photovoltaics
via a competitive tender process with an aim to make large-scale
solar as commercially competitive as wind power generation.
Theme three: Advancing the commercial development of
renewable energy and enabling technologies
As stated in ARENA's
General Funding Strategy, ARENA will not fund activities that
are commercially viable without ARENA support. This view is
reflected in the third theme of ARENA's 2015 Investment Plan
which distributes funding to renewable energy technologies based on
where they sit on the research to commercialisation spectrum.
ARENA will be funding research and development activities in
geothermal energy and solar thermal renewable energy projects. It
will focus on funding pilot and demonstration activities for
bioenergy technologies, biofuels, solar thermal energy technologies
and energy storage. Its strategy for investment in marine power is
tightly linked to commercialisation of marine energy technologies
and knowledge sharing projects. Investment in solar is limited to
the innovative applications in line with theme two.
Notably, ARENA's Investment Plan states that it does not
intend to invest in hydro power or renewable fossil fuel hybrid
generation, and its investment in wind power will be limited to
reducing back-end grid and plant costs and overcoming 'social
NEW PROGRAMME STRUCTURE
ARENA has merged its five funding programmes into two streams.
Previously the ARENA funding structure had specialised programmes
for regional renewables, community energy projects and renewable
energy advocacy. These programmes have been merged into two
streams: the Research and Development Programme (for projects in
the R&D stage), and the Advancing Renewables Programme (for
projects in the pilot, demonstration or pre-commercialisation
stages). Through these two programmes, projects will be funded
according to where they sit on the commercialisation timeline
rather than through more specific funding streams.
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