Australia unveils new renewable energy investment plan

(Nanowerk News) Exploring opportunities for renewable energy hybrid power plants is a major focus of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s three-year Investment Plan, released today.
Resources and Energy Minister Gary Gray welcomed the release of the agency’s second General Funding Strategy and Investment Plan, covering the years 2013/14 to 2015/16, which will continue to drive Australia towards a clean energy economy.
“The Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s (ARENA) new Investment Plan builds on over half a billion dollars of existing funding opportunities already on the table to increase the supply and improve the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies in Australia, and outlines the potential for five new initiatives,” Mr Gray said.
One of the initiatives, which will start with a study, is exploring opportunities for hybrid plants where renewable energy can be cost competitive with fossil fuel generation.
“This approach recognises that changing the energy landscape is a process of transition and aims to pave the way for stand alone renewable energy plants by first building confidence, knowledge and expertise around new technologies in a hybrid setting,” he said.
Adding renewable energy, such as solar thermal, to fossil fuel based energy production has the extra benefit of boosting generation capacity during times of high demand while producing less carbon pollution.
The Investment Plan also includes a focus on overcoming barriers to commercialisation of renewable energy; expanding research and development activities beyond solar technologies; and developing a world leading commercial readiness index for each renewable energy technology that will help identify how ARENA and other government agencies can best provide support to help each technology progress.
“ARENA’s new Investment Plan allows it to remain flexible and responsive in its approach while providing strategic support right across the innovation chain,” Mr Gray said.
ARENA is a Government-funded organisation working with industry to improve the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies and increase the supply of renewable energy in Australia.
Source: Australian Renewable Energy Agency
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