Clean energy start-ups are being invited to apply for the Federal Government’s $126 million Emerging Renewables program, which aims to reduce the cost of new technologies and improve skills across the sector.
Speaking at the launch of the program, Minister for Resources and Energy Martin Ferguson said it “allows a flexible approach to funding across the technology innovation chain”.
“For emerging technologies, this flexibility is critical. It will help ensure government support is tailored to the needs of industry as they evolve,” Ferguson said in a statement.
The program is based on the Strategic Directions report by the Australian Centre for Renewable Energy, providing a streamlined applications process as well as greater collaboration amongst applicants.
It employs a continuously open application model, allowing companies to submit applications as and when they need to with no arbitrary cut-off dates or set funding rounds.
A spokesperson for the minister said in a statement each proposal is assessed on its own merits.
“The key feature of the program is its potential to consider a broad range of renewable energy technology projects and measures, without a specific set of criteria for each technology sector or a specific requirement for the stage of the technologies’ progress,” the spokesperson said.
ACRE will administer the program until the $3.2 billion Australian Renewable Energy Agency is established. The program will fund projects under two categories: ACRE Projects and ACRE Measures.
ACRE Projects are for renewable energy and enabling technologies and products. The application process is undertaken in two phases – an initial expression of interest followed by an invitation for selected applications to submit an application for funding consideration.
Progress from an EOI to an invitation to apply for funding is not guaranteed.
ACRE Measures are for renewable energy industry capacity-building and skills development, or preparatory activities for ACRE Projects. The ACRE Measures application process involves a single phase, so no EOI is required.
According to the spokesperson, there is no maximum funding amount for an individual application, other than the limit of program funds.
“All applicants will need to present a strong case to justify the funding amount sought… We can assist you prepare a competitive funding application,” she said.
“ACRE may offer to work with prospective applicants to provide guidance on the suitability of their project against the merit criteria, and how such suitability could be demonstrated in the application for funding.”
ACRE says it may refer proposals to other available funding programs or support mechanisms and identify any opportunities for co-funding or collaboration between projects.