The Australian Renewable Energy Agency has launched its new Investment Plan that sets out three new priority areas to improve the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies and increase the supply of renewable energy in Australia.

In a bid to sharpen its investment focus, ARENA funding will be directed towards projects that: support the integration of renewables in the electricity system; accelerate the development of Australia’s hydrogen industry for domestic and export; and support industry to reduce emissions. 

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the agency’s investment priorities were updated following consultation with industry and government and focus on areas that can best assist with the energy transition underway in Australia.

“The transition is underway but there is still a lot of work to do and ARENA has the expertise and deep understanding of the renewable energy sector to help address the long term needs,” Miller said. 

“Our new investment priorities are geared towards future-proofing our energy system and economy and helping to further unlock the vast renewable resources Australia has. We need to overcome the challenge of integrating renewables into the grid as we switch to an electricity system that is more complex, more decentralised and more variable. 

“We need to launch a hydrogen industry to create opportunities across the domestic economy and to help position Australia to become a major renewable energy superpower through exporting hydrogen. 

“Finally, we need to support industry, which accounts for around 40% of total final energy use in Australia.”

Since its establishment in 2012 ARENA has supported 478 renewable energy projects, driving innovations in solar PV, batteries, biofuels, hydrogen, solar thermal, ocean energy, pumped hydro, distributed energy and demand response.

As at June 30, 2019, $1.44 billion in funding, with a total project value of $5.49 billion, has been invested in renewable energy projects by ARENA.