Australia recognises that supporting the research, development, demonstration and deployment of clean energy technologies is necessary to transition the world’s energy sector to a lower emissions future.
Along with other Mission Innovation members, Australia has pledged to double government clean energy research and development expenditure by financial year 2020/21. We also want to encourage greater levels of private sector investment in transformative clean energy technologies.
In 2016/17, Australia’s public expenditure on clean energy research and development increased to AUD$129 million, representing a 20 per cent increase relative to the 2015/16 baseline of AUD$108 million.
Australia’s Mission Innovation baseline of AUD$108 million is based on the 2015/16 financial year figures reported to the International Energy Agency (IEA) for combined research and development into the following focus areas:
The baseline excludes research and development spending on fossil fuels, electricity generation and transmission and distribution technologies, recoupable investments made by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), and expenditure on later stage demonstration and deployment.
Australian scientists and researchers are making world-leading contributions to the development of clean energy technologies such as in solar PV, solar thermal, hydrogen, and smart grids and storage.
The Australian Government will continue supporting our world class universities and research institutions to further collaborate with international colleagues and organisations, to unlock new ideas and transitional pathways in the energy sector.
Australia is excited by the opportunities for future research and development collaboration under the Mission Innovation’s Innovation Challenges. Australia has active research underway in many clean energy technologies relevant to the Innovation Challenges, and is particularly interested in collaboration opportunities under the Smart Grids, Carbon Capture, Converting Sunlight, and Affordable Heating and Cooling of Buildings challenges.
Australia will be co-leading a new Innovation Challenge on Hydrogen. We look forward to collaborating with interested countries and with existing international co-operation forums to identify and overcome key technical barriers to widespread production, transport, storage, and use of hydrogen.
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)’s Low Emissions Technology Roadmap for Australia made recommendations on where to focus Australia’s future domestic clean energy research and development and international collaboration opportunities, to deliver clean energy solutions. The Roadmap identified opportunities for both domestic hydrogen and a hydrogen export industry.
Hydrogen as an energy storage medium would enhance domestic energy system security, and could also be exported to neighbouring countries such as Japan, Korea and China, as they look for ways to diversify their energy mix and reduce carbon intensity of their energy sectors.
Australia’s abundant renewable energy resources are well suited to the production of zero-emissions hydrogen, which requires abundant cheap renewable electricity.
In November 2017, the CSIRO launched a Hydrogen Future Science Platform. This involves investing AUD$13.5 million into hydrogen fuel research to enable the development of technologies that allow Australia to export its solar energy, as well as providing low emissions energy solutions for Australians.
The Australian Government is further encouraging increased research and development work in the hydrogen supply chain through an AUD$20 million R&D funding round, announced in late 2017. Hydrogen production, conversion to a carrier for transport, storage or export, and transformation into energy at point-of-use are all stages of the hydrogen supply chain that have significant potential for cost reductions.
Australia is leading work on the Storage Integration work stream under the Smart Grids Innovation Challenge (MI IC#1) alongside our UK counterpart. Australia also hosted an MI-IC#1 workshop as side-event of the ISGAN ExCo15 meeting in Newcastle, Australia in March 2018.
As part of Australia’s commitment to the Smart Grids Innovation Challenge, we will lead delivery of a partnership between the Mission Innovation Smart Grids Challenge and the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in 2019.
The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge is a biennial solar-powered car race which held its 30-year anniversary event in October 2017. The event has attracted world-wide media coverage, with participants from over 30 countries including 11 Mission Innovation countries competing over a 3000 km route from Darwin to Adelaide, in a car powered only by solar energy.
The partnership is expected to raise awareness and participation at the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, in particular from Mission Innovation member countries. It aims to:
In early 2017, the Australian Government, announced ongoing support for building flexible capacity and large-scale energy storage. Through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), the Australian Government will also support related innovative technologies that boost the stability of the electricity grid, such as advanced control systems and smart grids.
Australia is committed to driving innovation and deployment of clean energy technologies on the world stage. Australian innovation has long been successfully commercialised in the global marketplace – for example, it is projected that University of New South Wales photovoltaics innovation will be embedded in almost half of all new solar panels sold globally by 2020.
We will continue to build international partnerships to improve commercial opportunities for Australian renewable energy technology, such as the Australia-US Solar Thermal Research Initiative and the Australia-US Institute for Advanced Photovoltaics.
In December 2017, the Australian Government announced AUD$29 million to twenty R&D projects that will further accelerate the development of solar PV technology, improving its efficiency and reducing its costs.
Australia is leading the Predictive Maintenance and Optimization work stream under the Affordable Heating and Cooling of Buildings Innovation Challenge (MI IC#7). Australia prepared and presented a technical discussion paper on Predictive Maintenance and Optimization at the MI IC#7 research experts’ workshop in November 2017.
At the MI IC#7 research experts’ workshop, experts identified the need for an Open Data Platform, in order to address energy wastage of up to 30% resulting from poorly maintained, degraded, and improperly controlled air-conditioning equipment.
In response to this finding, Australia is working with other countries such as Canada, the US and the Netherlands on developing an Open Data Platform for energy efficiency and smart buildings research. The Platform will provide innovators with both access to low-cost high-quality data from buildings, and infrastructure to enable HVAC software-as-a-solution-services.
The Open Data Platform will accelerate innovation and enable start-ups to thrive in the larger smart buildings ecosystem. It will collect a wide range of energy data, building data and other meta-data, and make it accessible (subject to privacy, and user access privilege restrictions set by the data owner) to empower the research and innovation community to develop data-analytics and other software-as-a-service products that (i) save energy (ii) improve operational efficiency, and (iii) enable other data services.
The Australian Government announced an AUD$5 million International Engagement Program in late 2017. This program, delivered through ARENA, aims to forge international collaborations between Australian scientists and industry experts and their international counterparts leading research, development, demonstration and deployment efforts overseas.
The Program supports leading researchers and industry experts to participate in eligible International Energy Agency Technology Collaboration Programs and six of the seven Mission Innovation Challenges which focus on accelerating renewable energy development.
Enhancing Australia’s participation in both of these international platforms will broaden access to world-leading information to improve Australian research outcomes and commercialisation prospects for Australian technologies.
Australia has a suite of government programs to support research and development and help emerging technologies make the transition from demonstration to commercial implementation.
Research and development grants are provided by the ARENA, the Australian Research Council, CSIRO and universities.
Seed funding for emerging technology is provided by the Clean Energy Innovation Fund and ARENA.
On 1 May 2017, the ARENA Board released a detailed Investment Plan, setting out four investment priorities that will guide how their AUD$1 billion in funding will be directed over the coming years. These are:
The Clean Energy Innovation Fund will continue to provide financial support for innovative and emerging clean energy technologies to become commercially viable. It is funded from the CEFC’s capital allocation and has now committed approximately AUD$50 million of its AUD$200 million allocation in its second year of operation. The fund has supported technologies such as hybrid solar generation and storage energy management systems, electric vehicles in medium-duty trucks, and scaling up of the Internet of Things network focused on cutting energy use.
This funding also includes an AUD$10 million cornerstone investment in a Clean Energy Seed Fund administered by Artesian Venture Partners. The Seed Fund targets scalable, high growth potential start-ups fuelling innovation and creating opportunities in the development of clean technology.
The CEFC will continue to make clean energy debt and equity investments in later stage commercialisation and deployment projects on a commercial basis.
Since its establishment on 1 July 2013, the CEFC has made cumulative commitments of more than AUD$4.3 billion to projects worth over AUD$11 billion. These investments focus on renewable energy, energy efficiency and low emissions technologies. Each dollar of CEFC investment commitments in 2016-17 was matched by over two dollars from the private sector, with the investment portfolio expected to earn a return above the Government’s cost of borrowing.
Emissions reduction policies, such as the Renewable Energy Target and the Emissions Reduction Fund, will continue to help to pull innovations through to widespread market diffusion.
Figure 1: Australian Government measures across the innovation chain
Australia nominated a Mission Innovation baseline of $104 million, based on the 2015 figures reported to the International Energy Agency (IEA) for combined research and development into the following focus areas:
This baseline has since been revised to AUD $108 million, reflecting differences between projected spend and actual spend in financial year 2015-16, as well as improved data in relation to the above activities.
The baseline excludes research and development spending on fossil fuels, electricity transmission and distribution networks, recoupable investments made by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), and expenditure on later stage deployment.
Research and development in low carbon technologies, including end use energy efficiency, renewable energy, nuclear energy, electric grid technologies, carbon capture and storage, and advanced transportation systems and fuels. Investments are implemented through a number of mechanisms including cost-shared projects with the private sector, research and development activities at the National Laboratories, grants to universities, and support for collaborative research centers targeted to key energy technology frontiers.
|Industry & buildings||
|Vehicles & other transportation||
|Bio-based fuels & energy||
|Solar, wind & other renewables||
|Hydrogen & fuel cells||
|Cleaner fossil energy|
|CO2 capture, utilization & storage||
|Basic energy research||
Indicators are for key areas of Mission Innovation R&D investment but do not imply a comprehensive representation of a country’s full R&D portfolio.
The Government’s Innovation and Science Agenda outlines how we will transform our approach to innovation and science right across the economy with major new initiatives.
“The Australian Government recognises the importance of science, innovation and technology to our future prosperity and economic security as a nation in a rapidly expanding and diversifying global economy.” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, 27 October 2015.
The Australian Government’s support for clean energy extends well beyond the research and development stage, and includes a comprehensive suite of policies to drive innovation and large scale uptake across the energy supply chain.
More detail is available from the Prime Minister’s website here.
“We do not doubt the implications of the science, or the scale of the challenge. But above all we do not doubt the capacity of humanity to meet it – with imagination, innovation and the prudence that befits those, like us, who make decisions that will affect not just our own children and grandchildren but generations yet unborn.
Here in Paris Australia supports a new – and truly global – climate agreement. It is an agreement that must drive humanity’s capacity for inventiveness and a new wave of technological advances. We firmly believe that it is innovation and technology which will enable us both to drive stronger economic growth and a cleaner environment.
We are a highly social and innovative species and so the more we share innovative technologies, the better they will become. Today Australia joins with many other countries in supporting Mission Innovation which aims to double investment in clean energy innovation over the next five years.”