The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has today welcomed expanded funding and new budget programs announced in the 2022-23 Federal Budget.
The Australian Government announced funding for budgeted programs to be administered by ARENA including:
- Driving the Nation Fund: $146.1 million delivered over five years from 2023-24 as part of the Driving the Nation Fund to co-fund projects to decarbonise road transport. This funding will build upon ARENA’s previous support for electric vehicle charging highway networks, smart charging and vehicle-to-grid charging projects as well as current Future Fuels Program for fleets, heavy and long distance vehicles and to incentivise household smart charging.
- Support for Energy Security and Reliability: $60 million in new funding that will allow ARENA to expand the existing $100 million competitive Large Scale Battery Storage funding round to support large scale batteries of at least 70 megawatts in size. Successful recipients will be announced later this year. The funding will build upon ARENA’s support for grid scale batteries.
- Community Batteries for Household Solar: $188.4 million of the program will be administered by ARENA to help roll out up to 342 community batteries across Australia providing access to battery storage to households.
- First Nations Community Microgrids Program: $83.8 million to develop and deploy microgrid technology across First Nations communities, to increase access to cheaper, cleaner and more reliable energy. The microgrid projects will be developed in consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups, First Nations clean energy experts and the states and territories. This funding is being redirected from community microgrids funding allocated to ARENA in the March 2022 budget, but it does not impact the current Regional Australia Microgrids Pilot Program currently open for applications.
These funding programs build on ARENA’s existing work and track record of delivering transformative projects that accelerate the energy transition in Australia in pursuit of net zero.
ARENA CEO Darren Miller welcomed the new funding to support these programs which will supplement ARENA’s baseline funding, which is unchanged.
“This is a very important budget for Australia’s energy transformation, and for ARENA which affirms the role of the agency in accelerating the energy transition, and the faith the Government has in our work.
“Having provided nearly $2 billion for more than 600 projects over the last decade, ARENA is already now focussed on how Australia can maximise its advantage in renewable energy to become an energy superpower in a net zero global economy.
“We are already hard at work supporting innovation in technologies that will be critical to our energy transition – like ultra low cost solar, grid scale batteries, green hydrogen and our support for the aluminium and steel sectors as they look for low emissions solutions on their path to net zero,” he said.
“We are pleased to build on these efforts with these budget measures that will directly benefit communities and households through community batteries, electric vehicle charging and microgrids,” he said.
“The additional funding for large scale batteries will also allow ARENA to provide more funding to large scale battery projects with advanced inverter functionality – helping to get more energy storage into the grid to improve security and reliability.”
Further information about these budget programs will be available on ARENA’s website in due course.
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