Networks welcome clean innovation fund

Windy Hill Wind Farm, Atherton Tablelands, Queensland
Windy Hill Wind Farm, Atherton Tablelands, Queensland

The Energy Networks Association (ENA) has welcomed the announcement by the Federal Government of a $1 billion Clean Energy Innovation Fund to support emerging clean energy technologies.

ENA CEO John Bradley said energy networks support innovation to reduce carbon emissions and tackle climate change.

“It’s great to see a focus on smart grids in the Fund, given electricity and gas networks will be a critical platform for a low emission future,” Mr Bradley said.

“Real innovation in low emissions energy solutions will be driven by customer choices and enabled by smart electricity and gas networks.

“It’s important this new fund supports a level playing field where technologies compete to lower emissions efficiently for Australian consumers.“

Mr Bradley said the Fund should leverage an innovation database of renewable energy grid integration projects – Integrating Renewables into the Grid Stocktake – hosted by Australian networks in a partnership with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

“The integration of renewables is one of Australia’s greatest strengths and challenges, as an increasing fleet of intermittent, renewable generators and lower levels of conventional generation stretch our energy system resilience,” he said.

“Australia is at the frontier of managing these issues and there is a lot more to learn in the transition to a smarter, more resilient grid.”

Reducing carbon emissions in electricity markets would require an economic mix of renewable energy, energy storage and low emission, responsive gas-fired generation, according to Mr Bradley.

Solutions to support Australia’s energy transition are currently being evaluated by the ENA as part of its 18-month Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap project being conducted with CSIRO.

The ENA supports greenhouse gas abatement programs for power generation and for direct end-use by residential, commercial and industrial customers that provide a least-cost, technology neutral solution to emissions reduction.