New power source for nation's renewable energy agency

  • Aug 01, 2020
  • Sydney Morning Herald

Created by the Gillard government in 2012, ARENA will run out of money by the end of the year without a fresh infusion of funds. The Morrison government has also recently overhauled ARENA's board prompting questions about whether it will continue to prioritise renewables.

Over the years, ARENA has pumped in $1.58 billion to support 543 projects with a total project value of $6.48 billion, it says. It would have backed more ventures if the Coalition hadn't sliced about $1 billion from its initial target along the way. It had funds of $88 million as of June 30.

While some projects have flopped, such as several wave-energy ventures, ARENA's aid for the University of NSW-based Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics has contributed to the design of $50 billion of solar panels globally. That support is due to end by 2022, UNSW says.

Those supporting ARENA's continued existence even as renewable energy costs tumble, point to firms such as Canberra-based Solcast that is trying to figure out how the grid can accommodate more renewable energy while maintaining grid stability.

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