ARENA pledges $43M to help industry to reduce emissions

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The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced the launch of the $43 million Industrial Energy Transformation Studies Program, announced as part of the 2020-21 Federal Budget, aimed at identifying opportunities to reduce energy costs and emissions in the industrial sector. 

Grant funding will be provided in two streams to support feasibility studies and engineering studies to establish the business case for replicable projects that demonstrate energy efficiency and renewable energy technology solutions for industry. 

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Applicants can seek $100,000 to $500,000 for feasibility studies or $250,000 to $5 million for engineering studies. 

Funding will be made available to companies and organisations in the agriculture, mining, manufacturing, gas supply, water supply, waste services and data centre sectors. 

These sectors are the largest users of energy in Australia, with around half of industrial energy used to produce process heat for industrial and other processes. Renewable energy adoption by industry can also be supported with energy storage including batteries, thermal and material storage and technologies that enable greater flexibility and responsiveness of energy demand, such as digitalisation and enhanced controls. 

ARENA has previously funded a number of projects aiming to reduce emissions in the industrial sector, including A2EP’s Renewable Energy for Process Heat Opportunity study, Shell Energy’s Advancing Renewables in the Manufacturing Sector studies program and ClimateWorks’ Industrial Energy Transition Initiative to accelerate decarbonisation across whole supply chains in sectors where abatement has traditionally faced challenges including steel, aluminium, bauxite and chemicals. 

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the program would create a pathway for emissions abatement among some of Australia’s largest industrial energy consumers. 

“Helping large energy users to reduce emissions is essential to decarbonising the economy and helping Australia meet our emissions reduction goals,” Miller said. 

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“Whether it’s by integrating renewable energy into existing processes or increasing energy efficiency to minimise energy demand and cost, the Industrial Energy Transformation Studies Program will identify credible and innovative solutions to the challenge of reducing emissions in industry. 

“As Australian industries look to decarbonise, we must now find smart, replicable solutions to help cut energy costs and reduce emissions in hard to abate sectors. Through this program, ARENA is looking to support solutions that can provide blueprints for business across energy intensive industrial sectors.” 

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