Government priorities

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Clean energy and the electricity market

The electricity market is undergoing a significant transition. Renewable energy and clean energy technologies will play an increasingly important role in our modern and dynamic electricity market. Innovation in clean energy technology is essential for Australia for continued economic prosperity and to contribute to global efforts to reduce emissions.

The Australian Government is supporting clean energy innovation across the spectrum of research and development, demonstration and deployment.

As a member of Mission Innovation, a global initiative to accelerate breakthroughs in clean energy technology innovation, Australia is co-leading the development of a 'mission' on clean hydrogen that aims to reduce costs of hydrogen production and use across supply chains.

The government has invested $1.4 billion in reliable renewable generation and storage, supporting a high-tech expansion of the Snowy Hydro scheme and the development of Marinus Link, the second Bass Strait interconnector needed to turn Tasmania’s Battery of the Nation vision into reality. By increasing our energy storage options, we will help make renewables more reliable and stabilise our electricity grids.

Renewable Energy Target 

The Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme is designed to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in the electricity sector by encouraging the additional generation of electricity from renewable sources. It is helping to transform Australia’s electricity generation mix to cleaner and more diverse sources, and supporting growth and employment in the renewable energy sector by providing a financial incentive for investment in new renewable energy projects.

  • The Clean Energy Regulator has advised that there is sufficient renewable projects accredited under the scheme to meet and exceed the 2020 Large-scale Renewable Energy Target of 33,0000 gigawatt-hours of additional renewable generation. The annual target will remain at 33,000 gigawatt hours until the scheme ends in 2030.
  • With the help of the RET, as at 31 December 2020 Australian households and businesses have installed more than 2.65 million solar PV systems and 1.29 million solar water heater and air source heat pump systems.
  • In 2020, the Clean Energy Regulator (CER) estimates that a record 7.0 gigawatts of new renewable capacity was installed, which is 11 per cent above the previous record of 6.3 gigawatts installed in 2019.

Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC)

The CEFC supports energy efficiency, renewable and low emissions energy projects through loans and equity investments. Since inception in 2013 to 31 December 2020, the CEFC has made investment commitments of more than $8.8 billion through more than 170 direct clean energy transactions, including arrangements with 13 co-finance counterparties (that have delivered over 20,000 smaller transactions across Australia), together investing in projects worth $30.8 billion.

As part of its investment activity, the CEFC administers a number of targeted investment programs including:

  • The $1 billion Grid Reliability Fund is being established to support Government investment in new energy generation, storage and transmission infrastructure, including eligible projects shortlisted under the Underwriting New Generation Investments program.
  • The $300 million Advancing Hydrogen Fund, providing concessional finance for new hydrogen projects.
  • The $100 million Australian Recycling Investment Fund, reserved from existing CEFC funding, to support projects that increase our recycling rates, turn our waste back into valuable products and encourage innovation so that resources are not lost to landfill.

The established $200 million Clean Energy Innovation Fund supports early stage and emerging clean energy technologies. The Clean Energy Innovation Fund is co‑managed by ARENA and the CEFC.

Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)

ARENA provides grant funding towards research and development and the early-stage commercialisation of renewable energy technologies to improve their competitiveness availability in Australia. As at 31 December 2020, ARENA has provided $1.67 billion in grant funding to 579 projects contributing to projects with a total value of $6.84 billion.

On 17 September 2020, the Government announced a $1.9 billion investment package in future technologies. This includes support of the next generation of energy technologies with an extra $1.62 billion for ARENA to invest, as well as expanding the focus of ARENA and the CEFC to back new technologies that will cut emissions in agriculture, manufacturing, industry and transport.

More information

Renewable Energy Target

Australia’s climate change strategies Australian Government

Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) Australian Government

Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) Australian Government