ARENA doubts lead to clean energy suspensions

ARENA

Doubts in continued funding to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has led to clean energy company Geodynamics placing two projects into suspension in New South Wales and Western Australia.

“The technology worked,” Geodynamics boss Chris Murray said. But the huge cost of the technology and of bringing the power to distant cities “was just greater than the revenue stream”.

“The ARENA grant funding helps us get projects that are either new technically or a new commercial model, which is the case in these projects,” Geodynamics Christopher Murray chief executive told The Business.

“[It] helps us to get those projects proven and demonstrated so we can then attract debt and equity funding and the aim of then not needing to get grant funding for those projects, it really helps us to develop a new industry.”

ARENA currently has 200 projects, in addition to the pipeline of companies that are seeking funding from the agency.

The government is considering an investment funds proposal to provide loans to clean energy projects. But, Mr Murray argued companies would have to demonstrate the commercial application of the technology would work.

“Although the technology in these projects is proven, we do need to get the business model from the concept stage and prove it up and demonstrate that these projects can be operated sustainably and will be then eligible for the funding,” he said.

The Turnbull Government wants to save $1.3 billion by abolishing ARENA, which was established in 2012 by the Gillard government to increase the development and supply of renewable energy in Australia.