Australian Renewable Energy Agency

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Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)
Australian Renewable Energy Agency logo.jpg
Independent statutory authority overview
Formed 1 July 2012 (2012-07-01)[1]
Jurisdiction Government of Australia
Employees 90 (approx)
Minister responsible

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is an independent agency of the Australian federal government, established in 2012 to manage the government's renewable energy programs, with the objective of increasing supply and competitiveness of Australian renewable energy sources.[1]


ARENA was established in 2012 as an independent statutory authority to manage the government's renewable energy programs.[1] Legal establishment came with the passing of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency Act 2011 (ARENA Act).[2] The legislation passed parliament in November 2011 with the support of the Australian Greens and the Liberal and National coalition opposition as well as the governing Labor Party. ARENA commenced operations on 1 July 2012. The agency resulted from negotiations within the Australian parliament under the Gillard Government, with the intention of providing more secure funding for renewable energy programs in the context of political changes.[3]

While ARENA was created as part of the Clean Energy Future package together with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, these are separate institutions. ARENA has consolidated various earlier renewable programs and research and development projects from the Australian Centre for Renewable Energy, the Australian Solar Institute and the former Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism.[3][4][5]


Carnegie Wave Energy's wave energy unit as it will appear in the Perth Wave Energy Project (supported by ARENA) off Garden Island, Western Australia

The agency's responsibilities cover funding of renewable energy research and development, demonstration and commercialisation, including large scale deployment, as well as the sharing of knowledge and information about these technologies.[1][6]

ARENA was established with a total funding allocation of $3.2 billion out to 2020. In the 2013 budget the Labor government deferred $370 million of the agency's funding, extending the timeline to 2022. The subsequent Abbott Government proposed to cut $435 million from ARENA's budget, followed by an additional $40 million, but has affirmed its support for the agency.[7][8]

Operational activities[edit]


ARENA carries out its mission through programs such as these:[9][10]

  • Research and Development Program to support research, development, and commercial deployment of renewable energy;[11]
  • Regional Australia's Renewables funds renewables trials in remote locations, aiming to increase their use as they become more affordable;[12][13]
  • Emerging Renewables Program for early-stage development and deployment of renewable technologies;[14][15]
  • Renewable Energy Venture Capital to provide expertise and equity investment to early-stage renewables companies through a private-sector fund manager;[16][17][18]
  • Supporting High-value Australian Renewable Energy Knowledge, to raise awareness of renewables.[19]


Approximately $1 billion of ARENA's budget has been committed to various projects, including:

  • Solar photovoltaics: ARENA funded research which developed techniques for obtaining high photovoltaic performance from poor-quality silicon,[20] and has helped fund utility-scale solar photovoltaic stations in Nyngan, New South Wales (which at 103 MW will be the largest solar power station in the southern hemisphere)[21] and Broken Hill, New South Wales.[22]
  • Solar thermal: ARENA has supported solar-thermal integration with coal-fired power generation at the Kogan Creek Solar Boost Project, a 44 MW concentrating solar power plant, projected to be the world's largest solar-coal plant.[23][24] The agency is also contributing to a feasibility study into local solar thermal power generation in Port Augusta, South Australia[25] and supported a study into the integration of solar thermal power with the National Electricity Market (NEM).[26]
  • Wave energy projects, including a 1 MW demonstration generator (by Oceanlinx) under construction for installation off the coast of Port MacDonnell, South Australia.[27][28][29] Another is underway in Perth, Western Australia,[30] and in early 2014 it was announced that Lockheed Martin and Ocean Power Technologies would build the world's largest wave energy project (62.5-megawatt) off the southern coast of Australia at Portland, Victoria, partly funded by ARENA.[31][32]
  • High-profile geothermal projects include the 1 MW Habanero Pilot Plant, commissioned on 30 April 2013 and operated for a 160-day trial.[33] Petratherm also received $13 million ARENA funding for second deep well at the Paralana project, connecting into the hot rock reservoir created around the existing well. Together these wells will provide a circulation loop through hot rock to enable production of geothermal power.[34]
  • Biofuel projects funded by ARENA include an assessment by the company Licella of the feasibility of constructing its first pre-commercial biofuel plant[35] and James Cook University developing a macroalgae to biofuels project to provide a blueprint for the development and production of high energy algal fuels.[36]
  • Projects for energy storage and hybridisation of energy sources.[clarification needed][37]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "About ARENA". Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  2. ^ "Australian Renewable Energy Agency Act 2011, Act No. 151 of 2011 as amended.". ComLaw. Australian Government. 2012. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Jeremy Thompson (8 July 2011). "Greens hail win on renewables agency". Australia: ABC Online. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  4. ^ "History". Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Retrieved 23 February 2014. 
  5. ^ "Agency to achieve renewable energy target". The Sydney Morning Herald. 12 October 2011. 
  6. ^ "ARENA (homepage)". Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  7. ^ Tom Arup (13 November 2013). "Abbott government to cut $435m from renewable energy agency". Sydney Morning Herald. 
  8. ^ Dugald Murray (20 December 2013). "Waging war on the environment does not add up". Sydney Morning Herald. 
  9. ^ "Initiatives & programs". Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  10. ^ "ARENA". Clean Energy Council. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  11. ^ "Research and Development Program". Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Retrieved 4 March 2014. 
  12. ^ "Regional Australia's Renewables". Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Retrieved 4 March 2014. 
  13. ^ Jonathan Gifford (24 February 2014). "ARENA regional scheme may deliver major boost for large scale PV". Renew Economy (Australia). 
  14. ^ "Emerging Renewables Program (ERP)". Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  15. ^ Sophie Vorrath (24 October 2013). "Two ARENA-backed companies make Global Cleantech ranks". Renew Economy. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  16. ^ "Renewable Energy Venture Capital Fund". Australian Renewable Energy Agency. 19 November 2013. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  17. ^ "Boulder Ionics Raises $500,000 Investment from the Southern Cross Renewable Energy Fund". Business Wire. Retrieved 23 February 2014. 
  18. ^ Sophie Vorrath (21 November 2013). "CSIRO in new alliance to advance home-grown energy storage technology". Renew Economy. Retrieved 23 February 2014. 
  19. ^ "Supporting High-value Australian Renewable Energy Knowledge (SHARE)". Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  20. ^ Geraldine Chua (22 January 2014). "Australian PV engineer takes top prize for cutting cost of solar power". Infolink. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  21. ^ "Construction starts on Nyngan solar plant". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 29 January 2014. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  22. ^ Vassilios Agelidis (14 March 2014). "Big solar could boost Australia’s power, if renewables funding stays". The Conversation Australia. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  23. ^ "Kogan Creek Solar Boost project". Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Retrieved 23 February 2014. 
  24. ^ Giles Parkinson (6 February 2014). "World's biggest solar booster project delayed by "difficulties"". Renew Economy. Retrieved 23 February 2014. 
  25. ^ "Solar thermal progress". The Transcontinental (Australia). 22 January 2014. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  26. ^ "Solar thermal a 'cost-effective alternative'". Business Spectator. 6 February 2014. Retrieved 14 February 2014. 
  27. ^ "Federal funding for wave energy venture". ABC News (Australia: Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 4 July 2012. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  28. ^ "Port MacDonnell wave energy project 'on track'". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 12 June 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  29. ^ "Oceanlinx wave of success". Australian Renewable Energy Agency. 25 October 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  30. ^ Carnegie secures wave grants | Business Spectator
  31. ^ "Lockheed Backs World's Largest Wave Energy Project". Forbes. 11 February 2014. 
  32. ^ "Victorian Wave Partners Wave Power Station". Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  33. ^ LXRICHTER (8 October 2013). "Geodynamics completes demonstration of Habanero EGS plant". Think GeoEnergy. Retrieved 12 March 2014. 
  34. ^ "South Australian geothermal explorer Petratherm scales back Paralana project in return for new Australian Renewable Energy Agency funding". The Advertiser (Adelaide) (News Corp Australia). 21 June 2013. 
  35. ^ Jim Lane (1 March 2013). "Australian Government awards $10 million to Licella, Muradel as accelerator towards commercial scale". Biofuels Digest. Retrieved 12 March 2014. 
  36. ^ "Australian government commits $20M to advanced biofuels R&D date=". Biofuels Digest. Retrieved 4 March 2014. 
  37. ^ "ARENA". Clean Energy Council. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 

External links[edit]