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The federal government has expanded the functions of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to support the next generation of low emissions technologies.

The new regulations introduced last week broaden ARENA’s mandate to enable the agency to play an important role in stimulating investment that will help achieve the Technology Investment Roadmap stretch goals as well as energy efficiency measures. 

The roadmap identified five priority technologies for government investment including clean hydrogen, long duration energy storage, low carbon materials including aluminium and steel, carbon capture and storage as well as new measurement technologies for healthier soils.

The government previously provided ARENA with $1.4 billion of new, guaranteed baseline funding to support these new and emerging technologies, and an additional $192.5 million to deliver a series of targeted programs:

These programs will create at least 1,400 jobs and deliver 16.5 million tonnes of emissions reductions. 

Expanding ARENA’s remit to unlock the transformative low emissions technologies that businesses need was a recommendation of the King Review.  

The International Energy Agency recently found that more than half of the emissions reductions required to achieve global net zero will come from technologies that are not yet commercial.

Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said investing in technology research and development was central to the government’s emissions reduction agenda. 

“Getting new, low emissions technologies to economic parity as soon as possible is the only way to reduce emissions without imposing new costs on households, businesses or the economy,” Taylor said. 

“This change allows ARENA to support technologies that can reduce emissions across all sectors of the economy.

“These changes have received wide industry support from over 28 businesses, peak bodies, and climate change groups.”

The Government has committed to invest $20 billion in new energy technologies by 2030, to drive at least $80 billion of total public and private investment over the decade. 

This investment will support at least 160,000 new jobs and will be guided by the Technology Investment Roadmap process, and delivered by agencies like ARENA, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the Clean Energy Regulator and CSIRO. 

Since 2012, ARENA has supported 602 projects with $1.77 billion in grant funding, unlocking $7.75 billion of total investment, leveraging $3.38 of investment from the private sector and other levels of government for every $1 of Commonwealth funding. 

CO2CRC CEO, David Byers, said the new regulations allow ARENA to take a key role in driving down the cost of deploying the priority low[1]emission technologies identified in the Annual Low Emissions Technology Statements (LETS).

“ARENA now supports an expanded range of low emissions technologies across all industry. This will encourage the development, application and scaling up of technologies that can strengthen industry and create jobs while reducing CO2 emissions,” he said.

“The value of CCUS is its versatility as a technology. Its applications extend from natural gas processing and power generation to steel and cement production.”

Byers said Australia is well positioned to be at the forefront of the global scale-up of CCUS technologies.

CO2CRC, Australia’s leading CCUS research organisation, operates the Otway International Test Centre in southwest Victoria, where it has safely and securely stored and monitored carbon dioxide in a variety of rock formations for more than a decade.

 

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