ARENA seeks input into future research and development priorities

ARENA’s Research and Development (R&D) Program supports R&D projects that will advance the commercial deployment of renewable energy technology in Australia.

ARENA is providing $21.5 million funding for 12 cutting edge projects through the first round of the R&D program, which is focused on solar excellence.

ARENA is keen to facilitate greater collaboration between the research sector and industry in the next round of the R&D Program in 2015.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said building and maintaining strong links between researchers and industry – including manufacturers, generators and distribution companies – would help meet the challenges facing Australia’s energy market and future energy supply.

“Strong collaboration between research and industry will help ensure Australia’s world-class renewable energy knowledge is translated into commercial outcomes and increase the economic, social and environmental return on investment in R&D,” Mr Frischknecht said.

ARENA is seeking feedback on the appropriateness of the four priority areas proposed for the second R&D round, which will be looking to invest approximately $20 million in commercially-oriented, industry-partnered research projects.

1. Balance of system cost reduction (on-grid or off-grid)

New technologies, applications of technologies or processes to reduce costs

2. Integration and high penetration of renewables into networks (on-grid, off-grid or mini-grids)

New technologies or applications of technologies to address the challenges of integrating renewables in the grid and increasing penetration levels

3. Renewables as an alternative to gas for industrial process heat

New applications of renewable technologies or business models for process heat, where gas is typically used

4. Integration of renewable energy into building materials or other products (consumer products, vehicles, signage, sensors etc)

Development of renewable technologies for building integrated or other applications

In particular, ARENA would be interested in stakeholder’s responses to the following questions:

  • Do the proposed priority areas address a current energy challenge for Australia? Are there any other energy challenges that industry-researcher partnerships could address?
  • How willing/able is industry to invest in R&D in these priority areas? What other areas would industry be willing to invest in? What level of support is industry willing/able to provide?
  • To what extent can existing researcher/industry linkages be leveraged? How easy (or otherwise) is it to establish a new industry-researcher partnership to develop and deliver a project?
  • What are the commercialisation prospects (either domestic or international) for research conducted in the proposed priority areas? Are there any areas not listed above where researchers and industry could collaborate effectively to achieve a commercial outcome
  • Does Australia have world-leading research capability in any (or all) of the above areas?

Please submit any comments by COB 30 January 2015 to submissions@arena.gov.au.