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:
- Optimise the transition to renewable electricity
- Commercialise renewable hydrogen
- Support the transition to low emissions metals
- Decarbonise transport.
Current renewable technology funding opportunities
Of the current ARENA grant opportunities, there are two key ones to note:
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 of moving heavy vehicles away from diesel.
Applications are assessed in two stages, comprising an EOI and a 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 that 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.
SA Economic Recovery Fund
South Australian businesses in key industries can now apply for funding under Round One of the new Economic Recovery Fund (ERF).
Melissa Fardone, a BDO director, said this fund is an opportunity to re-establish aspects of the manufacturing and skills base in South Australia since the decline of the local auto industry.
“It’s also an opportunity to put aspects of these new skill sets into trade schools and university degrees,” she said.
A total of $20 million is available in this round, offering grants or loans under two streams:
- Manufacturing Innovation
- Grants: Between $150,000 and $2 million per proposal. Applicants are expected to co-contribute funds at least equal to the amount sought (i.e. 50:50). In addition to the applicant’s contribution, applications can include other private sector, Council and/or Commonwealth funding towards the proposed project.
- Loans: Between $2 million and $5 million per proposal. Loans are limited to up to 30 per cent of the overall project cost.
- Regional Tourism Infrastructure Development
- Grants: Between $150,000 and $1 million per proposal. Applicants are expected to co-contribute, with a maximum of 30 per cent of the total project cost to be provided by the State Government.
- Loans: Between $1 million and $5 million per proposal. Loans are limited to up to 30 per cent of the overall project cost.
Applications for ERF Round One opened on 18 October 2023 and will close on 15 December 2023 at 5pm ACST.
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, please visit BDO’s R&D and government grants page and reach out to a member of our team.
Local News Matters
Media diversity is under threat in Australia – nowhere more so than in South Australia. The state needs more than one voice to guide it forward and you can help with a donation of any size to InDaily. Your contribution goes directly to helping our journalists uncover the facts. Please click below to help InDaily continue to uncover the facts.