ARENA provides AU$17 million for renewables R&D but concerns over long-term funding

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email
Flickr: Tim Swinson

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is providing AU$17 million (US$13 million) funding for nine renewable energy research and development projects looking at energy storage and solar PV among other technologies.

However, Australian Solar Council chief executive John Grimes has raised concerns over the long-term prospests for R&D funding in Australia after the Turnbull and Abbott-led governments recently cut AU$1.3 billion from ARENA.

ARENA chief executive Ivor Frischknecht said the new funding would create clear pathways for renewable energy technologies to become commercially viable by fostering collaboration between research institutions and industry.

He added: “ARENA’s AU$17 million funding is leveraging substantial contributions from private and public sectors, with combined project values totalling more than AU$54 million. This will tap into our home-grown ingenuity and complement our existing portfolio of 144 R&D projects.”

The Australian National University is heading three projects, one of which will develop a system to estimate the power produced by all the rooftop solar PV in a given area. Another will look at how robots could capture data for solar installation diagnostics and the third will look at how battery storage and solar can solve network constraint problems on Bruny Island, which is situated off the south-eastern coast of Tasmania.

Grimes welcomed the funding announcement, but warned that Australia must continue to invest in early stage solar R&D and claimed that the government will no longer provide competitive grant funding for this purpose.

Grimes claimed that the government will require any new funding to be repaid, with interest, under a debt or equity model, even though early stage research is “speculative by nature” and is “unable to pass commercial investment criteria”. 

He said: “This almost guarantees the end of early-stage solar research and commercialisation in Australia, because funding will no longer be available for it.”

In related news, ARENA has also brought in six new directors to its Board including Martijn Wilder, Susan Jeanes, Meg McDonald, Katherine Woodthorpe, Maria Atkinson and Jonathan Jutsen.

Read Next

December 8, 2021
Mining giant Fortescue is to partner with Australian energy major AGL Energy to examine the potential of repurposing legacy coal assets for renewables-powered green hydrogen facilities.
Sponsored
December 6, 2021
UK-based solar PV inspection and data analytics company Above details how its ‘Follow PV’ project, launched alongside the University of Essex, is enhancing the research and development of autonomous drone technology in utility-scale solar.
December 2, 2021
Acciona Energia has struck deals for multiple green hydrogen facilities, one with state-owned Australian energy company Stanwell Corporation and a joint venture with US company Plug Power Inc. to establish multiple production sites across Spain and Portugal
November 23, 2021
Renewables developers and O&M provider RES has appointed two new chief executives to lead on its growth plans.
November 2, 2021
Grid outages in Australia dented the performance of UK-based solar asset owner Foresight Solar Fund (FSFL) in the first nine months of the year.
November 1, 2021
The Government of New South Wales (NSW), Australia, has opened an online registration of interest process as it seeks bidders for the country’s latest Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) to enter the planning phase.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
December 21, 2021
Free Webinar
Solar Media Events
February 1, 2022
London, UK
Solar Media Events
February 23, 2022
London, UK
Solar Media Events
March 23, 2022
Austin, Texas, USA
Solar Media Events
March 29, 2022
Lisbon, Portugal

PV TECH POWER VOLUME 29 OUT NOW—Get 35% off your first year

Solar’s 2030 blueprint