ARENA $250m Funding Expansion For Commercial Fleets Announced

A $250 million expansion to the ‘Future Fuels Fund’ was announced recently, which forms part of the Government’s strategy to reduce emissions in the transport sector…

A $250 million expansion to the Future Fuels Fund was recently announced, which forms part of the Australian Government’s four-year strategy to lower emissions by incentivising operators to make the transition to low and zero emissions vehicles.

Business grants are now available for operators from the Future Fuels Fund – an initiative managed by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) which is also supporting the commercial use of alternative fuel methods such as hydrogen, biofuels and electrical hybrid vehicles.

This forms part of the Government’s Future Fuels and Vehicles Strategy, a ‘technology-led approach to reducing emissions in the transport sector’ provided in PDF form on their website, outlines five key aims to promote consumer choice and the economic, health, and climate benefits of decarbonising the transport industry.

The announcement of the second wave of funding, by Angus Taylor (Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction) stressed that the Future Fuels and Vehicles Strategy identifies supporting Australia’s commercial fleets as a priority:

“Through co-funding the essential enabling infrastructure – such as charging stations or even electrical upgrades to three phase power – we will ensure Australian business can embrace technologies that will help to both save on their operation costs and reduce emissions,” Minister Taylor said.

“Including hydrogen refuelling as a priority area will help accelerate the decarbonisation of heavy and long-distance vehicle fleets where battery EVs may not be a viable option.

“This fleets-first approach will also create a larger market for second-hand vehicles, which will improve affordability and accessibility for other consumers.

“Our technology-led approach is  in stark contrast to Labor’s policy, which will have a negligible impact on EV prices. We will not force Australians out of the vehicle they want to drive or put the costs up for those who can afford it the least.”

The announcement has been met with support by Bill Gillespie, SEA Electric President for the Asia Pacific region, who pointed out the important role of government assistance for the industry as it transitions to EV technology, in order for the country to reach net-zero and achieve its carbon emission cutting goals.

“Around the world, government assistance with regards to transitioning fleets to future fuels has been imperative to ensure the early uptake of the technology,” Gillespie said. “Australia’s road freight sector accounts for thirty-eight percent of country’s total transport emissions, so political policy related to the conversion in this area to zero-emissions technology should be a priority.”

Future funding will target charging infrastructure – including both public hydrogen refuelling stations, public charging infrastructure for EVs, and the installation of ‘smart chargers’ for private households. This is set to create more than 2,600 new jobs for Australians in the process, and will provide wide-reaching access to convenient and fast EV charging.