23 November 2012
Renewables for industry
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has commenced consultation on a new Regional Australia’s Renewables program to reduce local fuel costs, avoid emissions from fossil fuel use and ultimately give local communities greater energy security.
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said ARENA is seeking the views of industry, government, market operators, and end users on the best way to increase renewable energy uptake in regional and remote Australia, including at mining sites.
“We believe this is an area where we can really change the course of how electricity is supplied in Australia,” Mr Frischknecht said.
“Some of Australia’s best renewable resources are found in remote and off-grid locations, where the high cost of fossil fuel generation and increasing demand from industry creates opportunities to increase the penetration levels of renewables.
“The fastest growing consumer of primary energy in Australia out to 2034-35 will be the mining sector, with average growth of 5.2% a year expected over the projection period.”
Written submissions to a consultation paper are being sought and consultation sessions are scheduled in Brisbane (26 November), Melbourne (29 November), Perth (4 December), Karratha (5 December) and Darwin (7 December) and Cairns (12 December).
Mr Frischknecht said the program will support the deployment of commercially prospective renewable energy technologies, both generation and enabling and ARENA will look to consult on suitable investment areas, including for mining and communities.
“The off-grid environment is ideal to test the integration of one or more sources of renewable energy with or without gas or diesel generation.
“Isolated grids also provide a useful platform to trial grid integration and storage technologies, which will be vital to wide scale deployment of renewables and allow generators to capture value by selling to the market when demand is greatest.”
Regional Australia’s Renewables was announced as part of ARENA’s first Investment Plan, released together with its inaugural General Funding Strategy.