ARENA opens $20M grant round

THE Australian Renewable Energy Agency has announced up to $20 million for a new research and development round dedicated to industry-partnered projects that seek to develop and commercialise renewable energy technologies.

Haydn Black

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht was joined by founder of Suntech Power Dr Zhengrong Shi to officially open the new funding round at an event held at RMIT University in Melbourne yesterday morning.

“I am pleased to announce up to $20 million for our second R&D round through ARENA’

Research & Development Program,” Frischknecht said.

“This round will support industry and research partnerships to deliver R&D projects with practical applications and commercially oriented outcomes that integrate renewable energy into networks, buildings and industrial processes.

“ARENA understands the importance of supporting R&D projects to drive innovation and advance renewable energy technologies and solutions suited to the 21st century.

“ARENA is not, however, in the business of investing in research for the sake of research; our goal with this R&D round is to further align our investment in research and development with the needs of industry.

“Strong collaboration between researchers and industry will help ensure Australia’s world-class renewable energy research is translated into commercial outcomes that increase the economic, social and environmental return on investment in R&D.”

Frischknecht said ARENA had sought input from key industry and research stakeholders to identify R&D priorities that would help meet the challenges facing Australia’s energy market and future energy supply.

“Proposed projects must address one of four priority technology areas and develop industry-research partnerships with at least one eligible Australian research institution (research partner) and at least one industry partner,” Frischknecht said.

ARENA has allocated up to $300 million over 2013-2022 for its R&D program to support projects that will advance renewable energy innovation and increase the commercial deployment of cutting edge technologies in Australia.

ARENA is providing $21.5 million funding for 12 projects through the first round of the program, which is focused on solar energy.

Up to $20 million is available in the second round. ARENA expects successful projects will receive between $500,000 and $5 million funding support.

To be considered eligible, proposed projects must develop industry-researcher partnerships with at least one eligible Australian research institution and at least one industry partner, addressing one or more of the four challenges or opportunities that seek to integrate renewable energy technologies into networks, buildings and industrial processes.

The four areas are looking at developing cheaper energy systems, increasing the penetration of renewables into energy networks, integrating them into non-generation industrial process and the building process.

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