ARENA’s investment focus is on continued support for the emerging community energy sector:
- reducing project development costs (including through knowledge sharing)
- building capacity within the community energy sector to the point that it becomes self-reliant and does not require government funding
- developing innovative business and financing models that reduce the cost of capital for projects.
ARENA will also consider supporting specific community energy activities where the activity also fits well with its other investment focus areas.
Community energy is generally defined by ARENA as being any renewable energy project initiated and/or developed by the community in order to deliver broad benefits to the local community. A community energy project may also be delivered in partnership with a private developer or independent power producer.
By helping to build the capacity of the community energy sector, ARENA expects community renewable energy projects to become self-sustaining in the medium term.
Gap in ARENA portfolio
In 2015 ARENA funded the University of Technology, Sydney to develop a community energy strategy, which provided a series of recommendations and actions to further facilitate the sustainable development of the community energy sector.
ARENA is currently considering this report and may support further projects that align with the recommendations as well as ARENA’s investment focus for community energy.
ARENA sees desktop studies and analyses as being the most likely to provide value for money in helping to develop the community energy sector, compared with direct support for community energy projects.
As such, ARENA is likely to support specific projects only if they fit well with ARENA’s other investment focus areas.