ARENA launches $71.9m Future Fuels Fund

Image Credit: Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s (ARENA) has launched a $71.9 million Future Fuels Fund, aimed at addressing barriers to the roll out of new vehicle technologies.

ARENA said the first round of the Fund will see $16.5 million of grant funding made available to fund battery electric vehicle (BEV) public fast charging infrastructure to expand the network and reduce blackspots.

According to the Agency, the funding will be available to support the roll out of networks of fast charging stations (50 kW and above) across eight geographic areas including each Australian capital city, alongside large regional centres including Newcastle, Wollongong, the NSW Central Coast, Geelong, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the initial funding round is focused on BEV fast charging stations to increase consumer choice, after industry consultation identified that a lack of public fast charging in major population centres is a key barrier to uptake of BEVs for both the public and fleets.

“Through this initial round, we are addressing one of the barriers to roll out of new vehicle technologies by significantly increasing the number of fast charging stations available to consumers across Australia, and reducing charging blackspots in both metropolitan and regional centres,” Mr Miller said.

“This funding by the Australian Government will stimulate the fast charging market and drive private sector investment, and will build on our considerable body of work in this sector.

“As electric vehicles continue to become more competitive, it is important we have the recharging infrastructure in place to give motorists confidence they can choose an EV and recharge it conveniently and cost effectively.”

Applications for the initial round are now open and will close on Tuesday 6 April 2021. Subsequent funding rounds, kicking off later this year, will focus on supporting business fleets to transition to BEVs, as well as explore opportunities with hydrogen and biofuels.