Solar energy and rethinking geothermal: ARENA’s hits and misses

From The Guardian, 27 December 2016:

As any punter will know, backing winners isn’t easy. There’s a little bit of science, a little bit of art and a whole lot of luck.

Australia’s independent renewable energy agency came into being in 2012 though an act of parliament, with a $2.5bn, 10-year mission to improve the affordability of renewable energy and increase its supply in Australia. It hasn’t been smooth sailing; this year Arena was facing a $1.3bn budget cut but this was commuted to a smaller but still significant $500m.

Six years on it has spent nearly $100m wholly or partly funding more than 60 projects across the renewable energy portfolio, from solar to geothermal to wind to hybrid.

Its chief executive, Ivor Frischknecht, says it’s not so much about picking winners as working to generate market interest in the area. But with a rapidly expanding range of technologies and innovations arising to meet the demand for a truly sustainable energy supply, the agency and its expert advisory boards have had to make a lot of tough decisions. Some have paid off handsomely. Others have not. Read more.

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