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New Chair needs an extended, re-funded ARENA

With the appointment of new Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) Chair, Justin Punch, the Clean Energy Council is calling for the Federal Government to also commit to extending and funding ARENA beyond its current 2021 expiry date.

"ARENA is at the centre of Australia's low-emissions technology agenda and is a critical institution to the delivery of the Technology Investment Roadmap," said Clean Energy Council Chief Executive, Kane Thornton.

"ARENA will be vital over the next decade and needs at least $2 billion to ensure it can continue its work in accelerating the clean energy transition. The Agency must remain unencumbered by the interests of the fossil fuel industry and focus solely on the role of clean technologies."

Clean energy has delivered an enormous economic boost to Australia during the past few years as a result of unprecedented investment in large-scale wind, solar and storage as well as a record number of Australians investing in the installation of rooftop solar and household battery solutions.

"As Australia begins the process of economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, institutions like ARENA will help advance the technology required to boost our clean energy resources and our capacity to deliver cheaper power across Australia, bolster our manufacturing industry and create more jobs to keep our economy moving," said Thornton.

"A Clean Recovery has the backing of the International Energy Agency, the World Bank and hundreds of multi-nationals and thought leaders across the world.

"The federal, state and territory governments are unified in their vision to seize the tremendous economic opportunity to develop a clean hydrogen industry that could enhance our energy security, create thousands of new jobs, build a multi-billion dollar export industry and lower Australia's greenhouse gas emissions. ARENA is critical to this mission.

"But the clock is ticking. Other countries are also investing in building supply chains, and we must act swiftly if we wish to achieve our stated goal of becoming a global clean energy superpower and exporter of clean energy to Asian markets."

"On behalf of the renewable energy industry, I'd also like to congratulate out-going Chair Martijn Wilder on his tenure, which drove ARENA's support of the large-scale solar industry and showcased the capability of large-scale battery storage in particular. ARENA's support of research and development in world-leading technology has enabled the integration of renewables into the electricity grid. It is now accelerating the development of a competitive clean hydrogen sector."