Budget 2023: Key regional industry role for ARENA

ARENA will deliver a $400 million Industrial Transformation Stream to support regional industrial decarbonisation and help Australia meet its emission reduction targets.

The 2023 Federal Budget has tasked ARENA with delivering its $400 million Industrial Transformation Stream (ITS).

The ITS will help regional industry to decarbonise and support efforts to meet Australia’s emission reduction targets.

The measure is part of a $1.9 billion Powering the Regions Fund. The Fund will separately support vital industries to maintain production as they reduce emissions. It will also work with trade-exposed facilities covered by the Safeguard Mechanism to boost their global competitiveness.

ITS funding will support innovative emissions reductions efforts in existing facilities, and grow new, clean energy industries in regional areas.

The program will be open to a range of existing industrial facilities in regional areas and across sectors and industries. It will provide support to reduce emissions and meet Australia’s emission reduction targets.

This program will build on ARENA’s previous work and existing funding programs.

In more than 10 years, ARENA has supported over 650 projects with over $2 billion in funding. ARENA has worked across the electricity sector as well as hard-to-abate sectors such as mining, metals refining and transport.

The Industrial Energy Transformation Studies Program is currently open to support feasibility and engineering studies.

What will the ITS do?

Australian Industry ETI report
Pathways to Industrial Decarbonisation report: ARENA has a track record of supporting industrial emissions reduction

The ITS is expected to cover a wide range of innovative technologies.

It will be aimed both at direct operational emissions (Scope 1), and indirect emissions from the generation of energy used in the facilities’ processes (Scope 2).

The stream will be open to regional facilities covered by the Safeguard Mechanism and entities registered under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) scheme.

It will also make funding available to over 400 existing industrial facilities and small-to-medium enterprises via aggregators.

Projects will likely include energy efficiency, electrification, fuel switching, process heat, hybrid renewable energy, and common user infrastructure projects.

The program will be open for applications from late 2023, and delivered over four years.

Delivering his budget speech, Treasurer Jim Chalmers said: “Australia’s biggest opportunity for growth and prosperity is the global shift to clean energy.”

Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen had earlier highlighted the need for investment in decarbonisation programs.

“We know it’s in the nation’s interests for Australian industries in the regions to be investing in decarbonisation. And, therefore, it is in the interests of the government to help.”

“And that $400 million … is a funding injection to ARENA with a laser-like focus on jobs in the regions..”

Supporting new jobs and reducing emissions

ARENA CEO Darren Miller welcomed the new funding to support industrial decarbonisation.

“As Australia and the world looks to transition to net zero by 2050, we must support industry to rapidly decarbonise.

“While the journey to transition our electricity system to renewable energy is well underway, the pathway to net zero is just beginning in many other hard to abate sectors. There is much to do, and no time to waste,” Mr Miller said.

“The $400 million Industrial Transformation Stream will directly support industrial facilities in regional communities throughout Australia to reduce emissions and reduce energy costs by switching away from fossil fuels.

“In doing so, this funding will support new jobs and upskilling, and commercialisation of a wide range of … technologies needed to achieve our climate targets and set our industries up for success in a net zero world,” Mr Miller said.

“As the agency at the forefront of Australia’s energy transition for over a decade, this budget program will build upon our existing work and track record helping Australian businesses to reduce their emissions.

“We look forward to working with industry and with government to deliver this important program,” he said.

Further information will be available on ARENA’s website.

Interested parties can register their interest for further updates and to be involved in future consultation.