New regulation to speed up DER adoption in Australia

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A new regulation introduced by the government of Australia is expected to help the country accelerate its adoption of distributed energy resources (DERs) and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The new Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) Technology Roadmap Regulations 2021 came into effect on Friday 30 July.

The law will enable ARENA to deliver a wide range of renewable and smart energy projects identified in the 2020-21 Federal Budget and will help Australia meet its decarbonisation goals.

ARENA will leverage a total of $192.5 million (US$141 million) in federal funding to implement the Future Fuels Fund, Industrial Energy Transformation Studies Programme, Regional Australia Microgrids Pilot Programme, the Freight Efficiency Assistance Grants and the Freight Energy Productivity Trial Programme.

The projects will help increase the deployment of microgrids, electric vehicles (EV), biofuels, and energy efficiency technologies. For instance, ARENA’s has planned a $25 million (US$18.3 million) project to deploy some 400 public fast-EV charging stations as part of the Future Fuels Fund.

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Under the regulations, ARENA will also be able to support priority low emission technologies identified in the first Low Emissions Technology Statement; including clean hydrogen, energy storage, low emissions aluminium and steel, carbon capture and storage, and soil carbon.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller, said: “We still have a lot of work to do to reduce Australia’s emissions and we still have a long way to go in the global energy transition. Technological innovation will be at the center of our efforts to achieve net zero in the years ahead.

“As technologies have matured, ARENA’s focus has evolved from supporting pure renewable energy generation technologies to assisting with the integration of renewables into the grid.

In addition to ensuring wide-scale deployment of renewables and smart grid technologies, ARENA says it will focus on further reducing the costs of clean technologies.

Today, ARENA has supported 602 projects with $1.77 billion (US$12.9 billion) in grant funding, unlocking $7.7 billion (US$5.6 billion) of total investment. The funding has helped to improve the competitiveness of solar, pumped hydro, grid-scale batteries, distributed energy, and hydrogen in Australia, according to ARENA.