02 May 2016
As the new Chair of ARENA, I wanted to take the opportunity to write to you on behalf of the new ARENA Board.
We have already conducted our first meeting, in what was a substantive and productive session.
We wish to acknowledge the work of the previous Board, and thank its Chairman Greg Bourne and his fellow Board members, Judith Smith and Danny Broad for their dedication in leading ARENA. We are grateful to Department of the Environment Secretary, Dr Gordon de Brouwer PSM for his continued guidance as a Board member.
Since its establishment, ARENA has delivered considerable achievements, providing funding of around $1 billion, spanning the commercialisation pathway, to more than 250 innovative renewable energy projects across Australia. These projects are advancing renewable energy generation and technologies and providing invaluable knowledge.
They include AGL’s 155MW solar farms in Broken Hill and Nyngan, the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere; Australia’s first solar powered mine load at the DeGrussa Copper and Gold Mine and Carnegie Wave Energy’s world-first grid connected wave array in Perth. ARENA has also been at the forefront of funding of clean energy R&D, its early stage commercialisation and in the education of many young researchers in the sector.
The new ARENA Board has welcomed the Government’s announcement on 23 March that it wishes to retain and reinvigorate ARENA and CEFC. The Government’s decision to establish a $1 billion Clean Energy Innovation Fund (CEIF), intended to become a primary focus of ARENA, is an important new funding vehicle for the sector. The operational details for the CEIF are now being worked through and we will keep you informed of these in advance of the intended start, during July 2016.
In the meantime, ARENA is working through the $100M large scale solar funding round and is looking forward to receiving final submissions. In addition, at our first meeting last week, the Board approved new commitments, involving projects with a total project value of over $140 million. These projects build on the work already being undertaken under the ARENA portfolio.
ARENA continues to accept and process new applications for funding and will provide more clarity around the CEIF and other areas of focus in due course.
I look forward to working with the Board, the ARENA team and our stakeholders, in helping to accelerate clean energy innovation in Australia.
Please call ARENA on 1800 804 847 or contact us to discuss proposals or if you have any questions.
Martijn Wilder AM