Towards net zero - Funding for renewables

Towards net zero - Funding for renewables

As Australia moves to try and meet its 2050 net zero commitment, the Federal Government is targeting more funding opportunities towards renewable technologies.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is primarily responsible for administering these programs and currently has many new grants open for applications. ARENA has four priority areas, which focus its funding on smoothing the transition to renewable energy.

These key priorities are:

  1. Optimise the transition to renewable electricity
  2. Commercialise renewable hydrogen
  3. Support the transition to low emissions metals
  4. Decarbonise transport.

Current renewable technology funding opportunities

Of the current ARENA grant opportunities, there are two key ones to note:

Hydrogen Headstart

Announced in the May 2023 Federal Budget, the Hydrogen Headstart program will fund large-scale hydrogen production projects to accelerate the industry in Australia – a priority commitment for the Federal Government.

Currently open for expressions of interest (EOI) until 10 November 2023, applicants and their projects must meet a number of eligibility criteria – which are detailed in the program guidelines.

Driving the Nation

The Driving the Nation Program aims to enable increased numbers of Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs) on our roads by improving charging infrastructure – not only for private passenger vehicles, but also to help address the challenges with moving heavy vehicles away from diesel.

Applications are assessed in two stages, comprising an EOI and full application. The first 2023 focus area, Innovation in Charging, is currently open for applications with $70 million in allocated funding available. Details of applicant and project eligibility criteria are available in the program guidelines.

Applying for ARENA funding – What you need to know

ARENA has a distinct approach to administering grant programs from other government agencies, in that they very much encourage up-front conversations with potential applicants before they require any formal grant submissions.

Engaging in a conversation with ARENA about your project will tell you if it’s a good fit for a certain program or not – which may prevent you from wasting time on a grant application that was never going to be competitive. They may also suggest an alternative program which may be a better fit for your business or project. For time-poor business owners, this guidance up-front can be invaluable.

ARENA’s grant program assessors have a good mix of scientific and commercial backgrounds, ensuring there are people involved in the assessment process who understand both the technology involved and the broader implications for the country in terms of re-skilling the workforce and development of new industry sectors.

For some programs, they may also be able to provide feedback on draft applications - which is rare for government agencies administering grants.

Need help?

To learn more about state or federal government grants and other funding opportunities, or for help in determining your eligibility for a program and applying, visit our R&D and government grants page and reach out to a member of our team.