ARENA to boost knowledge-sharing group with $300,000

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced $305,000 funding for a $743,000 partnership to strengthen the South East Region of Renewable Energy Excellence (SERREE) initiative.

SERREE is a sustainable energy initiative delivering improved outcomes for renewable energy stakeholders across the south-east NSW-ACT region. Led by a consortium of organisations including both the NSW and ACT governments, SERREE is working collaboratively with stakeholders across government, industry, business, research, education, and community sectors to map, catalogue and scope the region’s existing and future capacity for renewable energy industry development.

Initiatives include facilitating links between stakeholders with potential for partnerships and joint projects; identifying skills needs of industry to allow for development of local capacity both now and into the future; expanding and extending access to renewable energy skills development through education and training opportunities; and engaging the support of regional communities through improved understanding and appreciation for renewable energy development.

ACT Environment and Planning Directorate director general Dorte Ekelund and NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Renewable Energy Leslie Williams joined ARENA chief executive officer Ivor Frischknecht in November to launch the project. Mr Frischknecht said SERREE would establish a Regional Renewable Energy Industry Cluster in the south-east NSW-ACT region, forming a model that could be adopted by other regions.

“The ACT and NSW governments and key renewable energy industry stakeholders are partnering with ARENA to support SERREE to encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing across the south east region,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“It’s a valuable initiative that identifies renewable energy business opportunities, holds forums and provides resources to a growing membership.

There are currently a number of renewable energy projects throughout south east NSW and the ACT, leading Mr Frishknecht to say it’s an ideal place to trial a regional approach to knowledge sharing and skills building.

“The expanding network will establish a best practice framework to encourage other regions to adopt a similar approach to excellence in renewables,” he said.

Regional Development Australia ACT (RDA ACT) has led the SERREE initiative throughout the past three years, with the support of its funding partners.

Mr Frischknecht said SERREE has been very successful with engaging a broad range of stakeholders across business, industry, government and education providers.

“More than 450 network members have participated in the collaboration to date, ranging from government and research institutions through to international project development organisations,” he said.

“The ongoing development of SERREE very much complements ARENA’s role in driving knowledge sharing to accelerate the proliferation of renewable energy in Australia.”

The project will continue across the next three years. In addition to ARENA support, it is receiving $60,000 ACT government funding and $120,000 NSW government funding.