Government announces funding support for clean energy startups

Image Credit: Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)

The federal Government has announced $480,000 in funding over the next 12 months to EnergyLab Australia to support the next generation of clean energy entrepreneurs to develop new ideas and technology for the sector’s future.

EnergyLab Australia is a start-up acceleration program designed to help entrepreneurs develop projects, test their commercial viability, and undertake capital-raising activities to help launch a product into the market.

It also provides mentoring, links to energy investors and specific support for women entrepreneurs.

The funding will be administered by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) on behalf of the Federal Government.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the project will enable Australia’s clean energy entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into reality.

“Startups and entrepreneurs play an important role in accelerating the uptake of clean energy solutions, however, they can also face challenges in reaching scale and aren’t equipped to overcome hurdles such as high capital requirements, geographic constraints and revenue delay,” Mr Miller said.

“EnergyLab, through mentoring and supporting startups, will help us to see an increase in expertise, skills and capacity in the renewable energy technology sector and identify pathways to commercialisation to keep Australia at the forefront of renewable energy innovation.”

EnergyLab CEO James Tilbury said recruitment of entrepreneurs and startups for its core Scale Up program is already underway, with chosen applicants to be announced later in 2020.

He said the Scale Up program provides late-stage energy startups with introductions to decision-makers at Australia’s most innovative energy utilities, mentorship from Australia’s most successful energy-sector founders, and advice from Australia’s most active energy-sector investors.

“ARENA’s support will enable us to do even more to support Australia’s leading clean energy entrepreneurs,” Mr Tilbury said.

“In particular, this funding allows us to launch a Scale Up Program to provide the best late-stage energy startups with the support they need to reach their full potential.”

Minister for Energy Angus Taylor added:

“The funding for EnergyLab is an investment in Australia’s future energy technology, and a vote of confidence in the next generation of energy entrepreneurs,” Minister Taylor added.

“We are committed to embracing  innovation to help secure our energy future and  meet the nation’s energy needs through low-emissions technologies.

“The Government’s Technology Investment Roadmap – which will soon be released for public consultation – will outline how technology offers the best prospect of strengthening Australia’s role as an energy export leader while supporting reductions in global emissions.”

EnergyLab, which has supported more than 80 Australian energy start-ups since 2017, is also supported by a number of energy industry stakeholders such as Origin Energy, APA Group, Powerlink, The University of Technology Sydney, Ausnet Services, Climate-KIC, KPMG, Aperion Law, and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

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