14 March 2014
Address by ARENA Chair Greg Bourne at Parliament House.
Thank you for those words and for hosting the ARENA showcase this evening Minister.
My grandfather was also a farmer – he was a wheat and sheep farmer in Western Australia.
One of the things he taught me was how important it was in the agricultural world for durability – a farmer mustn’t be able to break it.
And that’s the thing – the robustness of the stuff ARENA does, whether it be software, or whether it be hardware, is really key.
When you take things from bench strength all the way through to the market it’s just got to be workable, deliverable – and if the Minister gets his hands on it, it mustn’t be breakable!
I would like to say that one of the great things about ARENA is that we do go from the bench side of things with university students through to PhDs right through to pilot plants.
ARENA takes a long lens approach to support projects that will advance renewable energy technologies and hasten commercialisation.
We are realistic about what we fund and why we fund it.
ARENA is not in the business of handing out grants for projects that have no prospect of becoming self-sustaining.
And we are crystal clear as to how we balance the support needed in the early stages with progressive rebalancing of the commercial arrangements as technologies head towards bankability.
We know exactly when it’s time to take the money out and stop putting money in.
We are also very clear that while we provide support to help companies and projects across the proverbial valley of death, we are not providing a pier into the infinite future.
We help companies get to the market but we are not going to pour money in forever.
The market has to deliver because in the end, that is the long-run goal.
It is how we get to a much, much more competitively dynamic renewable energy market.
That’s what ARENA is all about – helping renewable energy technologies to get the edge they need to become competitive with traditional energy sources.
I really do believe we are on a crux of change here in Australia.
Across the globe, and here in Australia, the renewable energy world is going to grow and grow and grow.
I think it’s almost predestined. It’s going to happen.
We can grow some very fine industries out the groups we have here as we go forward – and stewarding that forward is what we do in ARENA.
We know that this will be an incremental process.
There are no shortcuts.
That’s why ARENA has a long timeframe – at this stage out to 2022.
That’s important because it doesn’t go from university to commerciality in a week.
It just doesn’t work that way.
I’m going to hand over to Ivor now who will talk a bit more about some of the things we’ve been doing.
Thank you to all of those of you who’ve come along to view, and thanks to all of those fine companies and researchers who are showcasing this evening.
Join us at this year’s Innovating Energy Summit: Powering Australia’s Future on 14 August in Canberra for a showcase of Australia’s most exciting renewable energy projects to celebrate their success, learn from their experience, and inspire further innovation.
Attendance is by registration only. Please register by 28 July 2017.