This section explains ARENA and what we do. It covers our objectives, function and purpose, as well as how we responsibly invest taxpayers’ funds.
ARENA is the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, established by the Australian Government in July 2012. The Agency is a corporate Commonwealth entity under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act).
ARENA was created by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency Act 2011 (ARENA Act), which sets out the Agency’s objectives and function.
ARENA’s objectives are to improve the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies and increase the supply of renewable energy in Australia.
ARENA’s function is to provide financial assistance to projects that accelerate the transition of renewable energy technologies along the innovation chain, from research and development to demonstration and large-scale pre-commercial deployment activities. We also develop analysis and advice, and share information and knowledge on renewable energy and related technologies.
ARENA also provides advice to the Portfolio Minister on renewable energy and related technologies.
ARENA’s purpose is to accelerate Australia’s shift to affordable and reliable renewable energy. The Agency’s core activities in 2017-18 to achieve that purpose fell into three categories:
In short, ARENA finds and funds the renewable energy innovations that have the best chance of guaranteeing Australia’s power supply for the future, helping to bring those projects to life, and then sharing the knowledge gained through the projects to inform and grow the whole industry.
ARENA’s objectives, function, purpose and activities for the reporting period are detailed in the Corporate Plan 2017-18 (Figure 3).
ARENA is committed to achieving maximum impact and value from the projects it funds. The Agency does this by focusing its efforts on ways ARENA can make a critical difference for innovators, policy-makers, the energy industry and the broader Australian community.
ARENA’s activities are designed to produce results that will enable and encourage investment in future commercial projects; investment that will lead to lasting change in Australia’s energy system.
ARENA funds projects across the innovation chain from research to pre-commercial deployment. This funding is focused on finding and demonstrating first of a kind renewable energy solutions, which reduce technical and commercial risks and grow Australia’s renewable energy knowledge and expertise.
Renewable energy technologies include hybrid, related or enabling technologies. This means ARENA may fund technology solutions such as storage, demand response, energy efficiency, electrification and fuel switching, where they could help grow the supply of renewable energy in the long term.
The Agency works with project proponents to set the size and nature of funding and to scope a project’s value. This includes collaborating with industry, researchers and government to achieve specific outcomes that can be replicated for future projects.
ARENA currently has legislated funding available until 2022. The 2017 Investment Plan sets out ARENA’s four investment priorities, which are shown in Figure 4.
To ensure ARENA’s activities have the greatest impact, the Agency works to complement other government programs and initiatives that operate along the innovation chain such as those shown in Figure 5.
ARENA and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) work collaboratively on the Clean Energy Innovation Fund (Innovation Fund), investing CEFC finance in innovative clean energy projects and businesses that involve renewable energy, energy efficiency and low emissions technologies. The Innovation Fund is a specialist financer created to invest $200 million in early-stage clean energy companies. It targets technologies and businesses that have passed beyond the research and development stage and that can benefit from early growth capital to help them progress to the next stage of development.
(See page 42 for more information).
ARENA contributes to implementing policies for the research, development, demonstration, deployment and commercialisation of clean energy technologies. These policies are developed by the Portfolio Department. Further information on ARENA’s collaborative work is provided in the Annual Performance Statement.
This section provides ARENA’s annual performance statement for 2017-18, which is required by the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) and the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 (PGPA Rule).