Bowen discards planned changes to ARENA mandate


Energy Minister Chris Bowen has moved to repeal changes put in place by the former government and install a new set of regulations that he said would ensure the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is focused on funding renewable energy and technology that supported it.

“ARENA has a crucial role to play to support Australia’s energy transformation,” he said. “But they are hampered in their efforts by three separate attempts to broaden ARENA’s mandate by regulation so it could fund non-renewable technologies such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) and blue hydrogen.

“I’ve signed regulations which make it clear that ARENA will focus on renewables and electrification.”

The agency will also be given an additional targeted mandate to maximise the take-up of renewable energy, helping boost the level of renewable generation in the National Electricity Market (NEM) from about 30% today to 82% by 2030.

“These regulatory changes will help ARENA work with industry on accelerating electrification as well as increasing energy efficiency that will support the overall transition to renewables,” Bowen said.

“Decarbonisation of the economy will require large-scale electrification, which may not be exclusively powered by renewables initially, but will draw increasingly on renewable energy over time.”

The introduction of the new regulations follows Labor’s pre-election commitment to grow renewable capacity to 82% of all NEM generation by the end of the decade. Labor’s approach centres on a $20 billion government intervention to fast-track upgrades to the national electricity grid to accommodate the influx of renewable energy.

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