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CEFC statement on ARENA funding

17 September 2020

The CEFC welcomes additional funding for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to support early stage low emissions technologies across the innovation chain.

The Australian Government today announced that ARENA will receive a total funding package of $1.62 billion, including guaranteed baseline funding of $1.43 billion, over the next 10 years.

This new funding is critical to enable ARENA to develop new and emerging priority technologies to the stage where the CEFC can provide investment support to accelerate further commercialisation and deployment.

The Government has also announced that it will expand the focus of both ARENA and the CEFC to strengthen our support for new technologies that can cut emissions in agriculture, manufacturing, industry and transport.

In addition, the Government will introduce new legislation to enable both agencies to back technologies such as soil carbon sequestration, carbon capture and storage, the production of green steel and industrial processes to reduce energy consumption.  

The CEFC welcomes this expanded mandate and is already pursuing investment opportunities in some of these areas. The new legislation will help overcome barriers and further accelerate investment.

The Boards of ARENA and the CEFC will continue to be accountable for individual investment decisions and both agencies will continue to work closely together to advance Australia’s clean energy transition.

The CEFC has a strong track record of leading investment in the clean energy sector. Since inception, CEFC investments have helped drive more than $27.3 billion in additional private sector investment commitments Australia-wide. This experience and our commercially rigorous investment practices will enable the CEFC to continue to spearhead investment in new and emerging technologies.

ARENA has a similarly strong track record of performance. Over its lifetime, ARENA has helped improve the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies such as large scale solar, grid scale batteries, pumped hydro, bioenergy, distributed energy technologies and hydrogen. Since 2012, ARENA has supported 543 projects with $1.58 billion of funding, leveraging nearly $5 billion in additional private and public sector investment.

The CEFC will continue to pursue investments that support technologies canvassed in the Australian Government Technology Investment Roadmap where they fall within its legislative requirements.

As Australia’s largest cleantech investor, the CEFC backs early stage technology through the Clean Energy Innovation Fund. Recent investments include the Soil Carbon Company, which is developing biotechnology to increase soil carbon and improve the drought resilience of farming land, increase productivity and remove carbon from the atmosphere.

At the direction of the Government, the CEFC has also established a $100 million Advancing Hydrogen Fund, drawing on existing CEFC capital. Through this fund we seek to drive the large scale deployment of electrolyser technologies, leading to technology cost reductions, improved supply chains, increased industry expertise and offtake opportunities.

We are also focused on investing in large scale projects to recycle waste plastics, paper, glass and tyres through the new $100 million Australian Recycling Investment Fund.

The Government has also foreshadowed the creation of a Grid Reliability Fund, to be led by the CEFC, enabling us to further expand our focus on grid related investments with an additional $1 billion in capital.

Statement, 2020

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