Highlights in 2017
Highlights in 2017

New clean energy innovation policies and/or strategies

The Australian Government established the $200 million Clean Energy Innovation Fund in July 2016. The fund provides financial support for innovative and emerging clean energy technologies to become commercially viable. It has committed approximately AUD$50 million to date. 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 CSIRO’s Low Emissions Technology Roadmap published in June 2017 made recommendations on where to focus Australia’s future domestic clean energy research and development and international collaboration opportunities, to deliver clean energy solutions for Australia. The Roadmap identified opportunities for both domestic hydrogen and a hydrogen export industry. Hydrogen as an energy storage medium would not only enhance domestic energy system security, but could also be exported to countries in need to diversify their energy mix and reduce carbon intensity of their energy sector.

Top clean energy innovation successes in 2017

  1. The Australian Government through the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) launched a Hydrogen Future Science Platform in November 2017. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. In December 2017, the Australian Government, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), provided 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.

Top activities delivered in support of the Innovation Challenges in 2017

The Australian Government, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) announced an AUD$5 million International Engagement Program in late 2017. 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. The Program will support CSIRO’s international participation in the Smart Grids and Affordable Heating and Cooling of Buildings Innovation Challenges, the University of Adelaide’s participation in the Converting Sunlight Innovation Challenge, and the Australian Photovoltaic Institute’s participation in the Off-grid Access to Electricity Innovation Challenge. The top three activities Australia delivered in supporting specific Innovation Challenges in 2017 are as follows:

  1. The Australian Government, through CSIRO, is leading work on the Storage Integration work stream under the Smart Grids Innovation Challenge (MI IC1) alongside our UK counterpart. Australia also hosted an MI-IC1 workshop as a side-event of the ISGAN ExCo15 meeting in Newcastle, Australia in March 2018.
  2. The Australian Government, through CSIRO, is leading the Predictive Maintenance and Optimization work stream under the Affordable Heating and Cooling of Buildings Innovation Challenge (MI IC7). Australia prepared and presented a technical discussion paper on Predictive Maintenance and Optimization at the MI IC7 workshop in November 2017. 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.
  3. Australia spearheaded the creation of a new Innovation Challenge on hydrogen. This Challenge will create a platform for interested Mission Innovation countries to collaborate with each other and with existing international co-operation forums such as the IPHE and the Hydrogen Council, to identify key technical barriers to widespread production, transport, storage, and use of hydrogen. Australia will co-lead this Challenge.


Affordable Heating and Cooling Open Data Platform
Countries: Canada, Israel, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, United States
Type of collaboration: public-public, public-private
Start date: 2018
Funding amount: Up to $20 million
The Platform aims to provide innovators with access to low-cost high-quality data from buildings and infrastructure to enable HVAC software-as-a-solution services.
More information:
Switch Automation Solution Overview, explaining how the Platform drives scalable, repeatable building improvements.
Switch Automation Case Studies, highlighting building optimisation results for a variety of global enterprise organisations.