18 August 2013
Renewables for industry
The Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson AM MP, today announced the final board appointments and the chief executive officer to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).
ARENA will commence on 1 July 2012 and consolidate $3.2 billion in funding to support the research, development and deployment of renewable energy technology in Australia.
Providing for a diversity of skills, the Minister will appoint Dr Jane Sargison, Ms Betsy Donaghey, Ms Judith Smith and Mr Mark Twidell as inaugural ARENA board members.
The board members join Mr Greg Bourne (Chair), Dr Brian Spalding and ex-officio Mr Drew Clarke who were appointed on 9 May.
The Minister will also appoint Mr Ivor Frischknecht as the agency’s inaugural chief executive officer. Mr Frischknecht’s appointment will come into effect on 6 August 2012.
“The board appointments ensure ARENA has a good mix of skills across renewable energy technology, commercialisation, investment and corporate governance,” Minister Ferguson said.
“The board will oversee ARENA’s delivery of project funding; develop skills in the renewable energy sector, and promote information sharing and collaboration with state and territory governments and Australian and international institutions.”
Dr Sargison was Engineers Australia’s National Professional Engineer of the Year in 2011 and brings experience and a strong background in developing renewable energy technologies.
Ms Smith brings long-standing business investment, finance and corporate experience as head of private equity at Industry Funds Management.
Ms Donaghey has an extensive background in strategic planning, general management and business analysis with senior roles at Woodside Petroleum and BHP Billiton.
Mr Twidell is currently executive director of the Australian Solar Institute and has more than 20 years’ experience in the solar power industry.
Mr Frischknecht is currently investment director at Starfish Ventures and previously held a range of senior roles in technology startups, including renewable energy companies.
Minister Ferguson also expressed his appreciation to the members of the board of the Australian Centre for Renewable Energy (ACRE) for their contribution to the development and deployment of renewable energy technologies in Australia.
“I thank the ACRE Board for the work it has done in furthering the development of renewable energy in Australia,” Minister Ferguson said.
“The ACRE Board was responsible for assessing and making independent recommendations for funding renewable energy projects, and for translating these policy outcomes into strategic policy advice on developing renewable energy. In this sense, ARENA is the logical progression of ACRE.
“As the only body covering the full range of renewable energy technologies in Australia, ACRE has re-examined the way that Governments think about supporting renewable energy technology in Australia, and how the market can be used to more effectively leverage renewable energy funding.
“From 1 July, ACRE’s initiatives will be incorporated into and administered by ARENA, with the Australian Solar Institute following from 1 January 2013.”
An interim general funding strategy will be released by the ARENA Board shortly which will be formalised in the second half of the year following public consultation. The interim strategy will allow the Board to maintain momentum in the renewable energy sector, whilst continuing to administer existing ACRE programs and projects; consider funding shortlisted for Solar Flagships; progress the Emerging Renewables Program; and select eligible applicants under the Advanced Biofuels Investment Readiness program.