The Investment Plan includes four new programs aimed at delivering renewable systems in regional and remote locations, removing roadblocks for regional and remote renewable energy, building Australia’s next-generation solar and developing a comprehensive knowledge-sharing program, according to Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) Chair Greg Bourne.
“The General Funding Strategy will allow ARENA to be innovative, action-orientated and nimble, which aligns with the advice the industry gave us,” Mr Bourne said.
“The Regional Australia’s Renewables program will aim to deliver renewable systems in regional locations where energy consumption is forecast to increase and where fossil fuel-based generation costs are the greatest.”
The Emerging Renewables Program and the Southern Cross Renewable Energy Fund will remain open for business, and ARENA said that its support for solar energy will continue by running new rounds of the Australian Solar Institute’s successful PhD scholarship and post-doctorate fellowship program.Article continues below…
ARENA has finalised its role in projects referred to it from the Solar Flagships Program, resulting in an increase to $2.2 billion in funds available for investment.
“ARENA continues to support large-scale solar projects, such as the AGL Energy and First Solar thin-film solar PV project previously announced by the Federal Government,” Mr Bourne said.
“We are also continuing discussions with Moree Solar Farm and the Infigen Energy and Suntech [joint venture] on potential projects based on their short-listed Solar Flagships applications.”
Mr Bourne said that ARENA will not pursue a project proposal from TRUenergy (now EnergyAustralia) from Solar Flagships due to its broad similarity to the AGL Energy project, and after exploring several options to address current market conditions, ARENA will no longer be pursuing development of the 250 MW Solar Dawn solar thermal project in Queensland.
The Solar Dawn consortium said that it remains committed to Australia’s large-scale concentrated solar power industry even though the facility will not go ahead.
“With ARENA soon to embark on a range of new initiatives, we look forward to sharing our experience and working with ARENA to help build Australia’s clean energy future,” said Solar Dawn Project Director Anthony Wiseman of AREVA Solar.
The ARENA General Funding Strategy will be updated annually, and ARENA will release new investment plans as additional initiatives are developed.