Welcome to ARENA, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
Our purpose is to accelerate Australia’s shift to an affordable and reliable renewable energy future.
Our role is to support the development of local renewable energy technology by helping bring the best ideas to life.
Ideas need funding, networks and knowledge to flourish. We help with all three.
We provide funding to researchers, developers and businesses that have demonstrated the feasibility and potential commercialisation of their project. Our funding helps find a good renewable energy idea and get it to market.
We build and support networks, and share the knowledge, insights and data from our funded projects to help us all learn from each other’s experiences.
With ARENA’s project resources and team of experts, we help innovators to turn bright ideas into real world energy solutions. Our success can be measured by improved performance in renewable energy systems and technology, cost effectiveness, an invigorated economy and a reliable supply of renewable energy to all Australians.
Thanks to our ARENA funded projects, national large scale solar is on the cusp of cost parity with wind power – at least to five years earlier than expected. We’ve helped generate 231 megawatts of electricity through our support for four solar farms. That’s enough to power a city the size of Newcastle.
We have helped to achieve 14 world or Australian-firsts, ten of which occurred in 2015–16. And our projects have helped to break at least 11 solar cell efficiency world records, including a record for sunlight-to-electricity conversion efficiency using unfocused sunlight.
Our large-scale solar round will create more than 1400 new jobs across the country, reviving rural towns and creating new industry supply chains in regional Australia.
Our ground breaking off-grid and fringe of grid portfolio projects allow remote communities to access the benefits of solar energy. We were the first in the world to trial a large-scale residential community battery. And we are looking for opportunities to produce renewable jet fuels for sale throughout the world.
We think the future looks bright. Projects we have supported have already attracted over $1 billion in funding. And we have $3.5 billion more worth of projects in the pipeline.
Together, our current and future funded projects will help deliver affordable, reliable and even profitable renewable energy for Australian families and businesses.
To enable more renewables and lower emissions by driving innovation and commercialisation.
This means our job is to make it easier and quicker for Australians to access the benefits of renewable energy.
We do this by providing funding to help scientists and businesses meet the high costs of discovering, developing and building renewable energy technologies.
We also focus on technologies that increase the reliability of renewable energy, like those that strengthen the grid, deliver renewables at any time of the day or night, and provide clean energy to all Australians whether they live in rural or remote locations or our towns and cities.
We help to bring down the cost of renewables by sharing what is learned through these projects so the task is easier and cheaper the second, third and tenth time around. This speeds up the process of making renewables more affordable.
By supporting innovators and early-movers, we’re fast-tracking the development of substantial new Australian industries, creating new economic opportunities, and building on the nation’s rich history of invention by helping local companies develop world-leading renewable energy solutions.
ARENA was created by the Australian Government in 2012 with $2 billion of funding to co-invest in projects that improve the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies and increase the supply of renewable energy in Australia.
The ARENA Act (2011) also specifies our role in sharing knowledge from our projects as being fundamental to the way we deliver on our renewable energy objectives.
AEMO Memorandum of Understanding
On the 2 May 2017, ARENA entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO). The arrangement will facilitate collaboration around the organisations’ areas of mutual interest relating to ensuring electricity system security and reliability.
The shared program of work will focus on ARENA and AEMO’s common interests to:
- Demonstrate innovative ways of maintaining system security and reliability as the share of renewable energy grows.
- Promote the development and improve the effectiveness of the operation and maintenance of the wholesale exchange.
- Bring a specific focus to allow new and emerging technologies to be deployed into the market, e.g. ‘proof of concept’ projects.
To further these interests, the shared program of work may include:
- Existing system services from behind the meter resources (e.g. small-scale household generation such as rooftop solar).
- Existing system services from non-conventional grid-scale sources (e.g. improvements to large generators such as wind turbines so they can enhance power quality).
- New system services, whether behind-the-meter or grid-scale (e.g. inertia, fast frequency control ancillary services).
- New market information services (e.g. operational and price forecasting improvements, generation volatility, IT solutions, modelling to more accurately integrate variable renewables).
- Advanced grid management technologies (e.g. new protection schemes that work with low fault current or reverse flows).
Shared work on proof of concept projects was supported by the Finkel Review. ARENA and AEMO intend to plan and implement the program of work to support implementation of relevant recommendations from the Review.
In light of the changing mix of technologies in the electricity market, specifically the increase in renewable energy, this joint work will deliver on the COAG Energy Council ministers commitment in December 2016 to accelerate ‘proof of concept’ projects for grid security technologies.
Projects under the shared work program include:
We were established on 1 July 2012 by The Australian Renewable Energy Agency Act 2011. At that time we took responsibility for a number of programs and projects managed by the Australian Centre for Renewable Energy, the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism, and the Australian Solar Institute.
Australian Centre for Renewable Energy
The Australian Centre for Renewable Energy (ACRE) was established to promote the development, commercialisation and deployment of renewable energy and enabling technologies and to improve their competitiveness in Australia.
ACRE commenced in 2009 and was incorporated into ARENA on 1 July 2012.
ACRE managed over $690 million of funding committed to support renewable energy and enabling technology development. The following ACRE programs became the responsibility of ARENA:
ARENA also inherited a number of projects that ACRE had managed under legacy programs including the Renewable Energy Demonstration Program, the Geothermal Drilling Program and the Low Emissions Technology Demonstration Fund.
Department of Resources, Energy & Tourism
ARENA assumed responsibility for projects under the following three programs managed by the former Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism.
Second Generation Biofuels Research and Development (Gen 2) Program
This was a competitive grants program that supported the research, development and demonstration of new biofuel technologies and feedstocks to help develop the biofuels industry in Australia. Applications for the Gen 2 Program closed on 30 January 2009.
Solar Flagships Program
The Solar Flagships Program was established in December 2009 to support the construction and demonstration of large-scale, grid-connected solar power stations in Australia.
The program supported solar power playing a significant role in Australia’s electricity supply and operating within a competitive electricity market. This program is now closed.
Australian Solar Institute
The Australian Solar Institute (ASI) operated from August 2009 before being merged into ARENA on 31 December 2012.
ASI developed a portfolio approaching $450 million in value from the initial $150 million, supporting over 350 solar researchers across more than 120 projects.