Australian Renewable Energy Agency

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Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)
Australian Renewable Energy Agency logo.jpg
Independent statutory authority overview
Formed1 July 2012 (2012-07-01)[1]
JurisdictionGovernment of Australia
Employees90 (approx)
Minister responsible

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is an independent agency of the Australian federal government, established in 2012 to manage Australia'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]


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.[6][7]

Operational activities[edit]

Investment priorities[edit]

ARENA supports the companies and institutions that are building Australia's future energy system.

ARENA's funding and investment plan lists its three investment priorities and addresses key areas that can help create a smooth transition to renewable energy.

Investment priorities -

  • Priority 1. Integrating renewables into the electricity system
  • Priority 2. Accelerating hydrogen
  • Priority 3. Supporting industry to reduce emissions

Funding programs[edit]

ARENA carries out its mission via the following funding programs:

  • Advancing Renewables Program (ARP) - Development, demonstration and pre-commercial deployment projects;[8]
  • Research and Development - Renewable energy technologies that will increase commercial deployment within Australia;[9]
  • Renewable Energy Venture Capital Fund (REVC) - REVC fosters skills and management capability. It encourages investment in innovative Australian renewable energy companies to strengthen their chance of success;[10]
  • Innovation Fund - Emerging Australian technologies & businesses that can accelerate Australia’s transition to a renewable energy economy.;[11]


ARENA has committed to 486 projects investing $1.46 billion. Some of the projects include:

  • Battery storage: Australia’s first grid scale batteries in South Australia and Victoria [12][13][14]
  • Bioenergy and Waste-to-energy: An assessment by the company Licella of the feasibility of constructing its first pre-commercial biofuel plant[15] and James Cook University developing a macroalgae to biofuels project to provide a blueprint for the development and production of high energy algal fuels.[16]
  • Demand response: A three year trial of ten pilot demand response projects to curb energy use during extreme peak demand periods, in partnership with AEMO and the NSW Government [17]
  • Distributed generation: Australia’s first trials of virtual power plants (VPP) [18][19][20]
  • Electric vehicle: Australia’s first fast charging networks for electric vehicles [21]
  • Hydrogen fuel: Australia’s first renewable hydrogen facilities [22]
  • Photovoltaic power station: Australia’s first large scale off grid renewable projects including microgrids, solar farms and hybrid projects to power mines and remote communities [23][24][25][26]
  • Pumped-storage hydroelectricity: Feasibility studies into pumped hydro projects across Australia including Snowy 2.0, Hydro Tasmania’s Battery of the Nation initiatives and a proposed seawater pumped hydro plant at Cultana, South Australia [27][28][29][30]
  • Solar photovoltaics: Research which developed techniques for obtaining high photovoltaic performance from poor-quality silicon,[31] 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)[32] and Broken Hill, New South Wales.[33]
  • Solar thermal: Integration of 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.[34][35] The agency is also contributing to a feasibility study into local solar thermal power generation in Port Augusta, South Australia[36] and supported a study into the integration of solar thermal power with the National Electricity Market (NEM).[37]
  • Wave energy A 1 MW demonstration generator (by Oceanlinx) for installation off the coast of Port MacDonnell, South Australia.[38][39][40] Another is underway in Perth, Western Australia,[41] 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.[42][43]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "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. ^ Tom Arup (13 November 2013). "Abbott government to cut $435m from renewable energy agency". Sydney Morning Herald.
  7. ^ Dugald Murray (20 December 2013). "Waging war on the environment does not add up". Sydney Morning Herald.
  8. ^ "Funding". Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  9. ^ "Funding". Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  10. ^ "Funding". Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  11. ^ "Funding". Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  12. ^ ARENA (22 March 2018). "ARENA to provide $25 million to jointly fund Victoria's first large-scale, grid-connected batteries". ARENA. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  13. ^ ARENA (23 October 2018). "Victoria's first of two large-scale, grid-connected batteries reaches completion in Ballarat". ARENA. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  14. ^ ARENA (16 November 2018). "Grid scale battery powers up in Gannawarra". ARENA. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  15. ^ Jim Lane (1 March 2013). "Australian Government awards $10 million to Licella, Muradel as accelerator towards commercial scale". Biofuels Digest. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  16. ^ "Australian government commits $20M to advanced biofuels R&D". Biofuels Digest. Archived from the original on 24 March 2014. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  17. ^ ARENA (11 October 2017). "AEMO and ARENA demand response trial to provide 200 megawatts of emergency reserves for extreme peaks". ARENA. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  18. ^ ARENA (5 April 2019). "AEMO to trial integrating Virtual Power Plants into the NEM". ARENA. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  19. ^ ARENA (28 March 2018). "Simply Energy to build 8MW virtual power plant in Adelaide". ARENA. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  20. ^ ARENA (16 February 2017). "Battery storage set to strengthen South Australian grid". ARENA. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  21. ^ ARENA (22 October 2018). "Renewables to drive ultra-rapid electric vehicle network". ARENA. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  22. ^ ARENA (3 July 2018). "Green hydrogen innovation hub to be built in WA". ARENA. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  23. ^ ARENA (13 August 2014). "Off-grid renewable solution moves closer to fruition". ARENA. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  24. ^ ARENA (12 October 2015). "Another giant step for large-scale solar at Broken Hill". ARENA. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  25. ^ ARENA (14 January 2016). "ARENA selects 22 large-scale solar projects to take next step". ARENA. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  26. ^ ARENA (1 March 2016). "Moree Solar Farm starts feeding into the grid". ARENA. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  27. ^ ARENA (18 December 2015). "Pumped hydro storage could breathe new life into old mines". ARENA. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  28. ^ ARENA (17 November 2017). "One step closer for giant Kidston solar and pumped hydro". ARENA. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  29. ^ ARENA (21 December 2017). "Snowy 2.0 feasibility study released". ARENA. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  30. ^ ARENA (21 June 2018). "Tarraleah hydropower redevelopment powers ahead". ARENA. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  31. ^ Geraldine Chua (22 January 2014). "Australian PV engineer takes top prize for cutting cost of solar power". Infolink. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  32. ^ "Construction starts on Nyngan solar plant". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 29 January 2014. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  33. ^ Vassilios Agelidis (14 March 2014). "Big solar could boost Australia's power, if renewables funding stays". The Conversation Australia. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  34. ^ "Kogan Creek Solar Boost project". Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Archived from the original on 8 March 2014. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  35. ^ Giles Parkinson (6 February 2014). "World's biggest solar booster project delayed by "difficulties"". Renew Economy. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  36. ^ "Solar thermal progress". The Transcontinental. Australia. 22 January 2014. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  37. ^ "Solar thermal a 'cost-effective alternative'". Business Spectator. 6 February 2014. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  38. ^ "Federal funding for wave energy venture". ABC News. Australia: Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 4 July 2012. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  39. ^ "Port MacDonnell wave energy project 'on track'". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 12 June 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  40. ^ "Oceanlinx wave of success". Australian Renewable Energy Agency. 25 October 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  41. ^ Carnegie secures wave grants | Business Spectator
  42. ^ "Lockheed Backs World's Largest Wave Energy Project". Forbes. 11 February 2014.
  43. ^ "Victorian Wave Partners Wave Power Station". Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Archived from the original on 24 March 2014. Retrieved 25 February 2014.

External links[edit]