The outcomes of ARENA’s activities are the changes that we expect to see occurring above and beyond the outputs produced by our activities and the projects that we fund. Our impact is the enduring, positive change that results in the longer term.
Outcomes and impact rarely arise from just one project, so each of the performance case studies in this section draw together the contribution from a portfolio of complementary projects.
ARENA’s activities are delivered in a complex, rapidly changing environment. ARENA’s limited control over external factors can make it challenging to link the results of a particular activity with changes observed in the broader environment.
For this reason, when reporting our performance in achieving our outcomes and impact we rely on qualitative evidence that shows how our activities are contributing to broader changes in the Australian energy sector. In particular, we rely on qualitative information to assess our contribution to improving the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies.
ARENA takes into account a number of factors in assessing competitiveness:
- cost and revenue are the major indicators of competitiveness of renewable energy technologies. ARENA supports activities that can reduce the cost and/or increase the value (and thereby the revenue) of renewable energy technologies
- improved technical performance, more solutions demonstrated and greater availability of technical performance data
- increased industry and supply chain skills, capability and capacity
- demonstration of innovative business models.
Competitiveness is assessed relative to other technologies (incumbent and emerging) and depends on the context in which those technologies are deployed.
While the participants directly involved in delivering ARENA-funded projects are the immediate beneficiaries of ARENA funding, the projects that we support are assessed for their potential to catalyse broader change within Australia’s energy sector. This broader change is expected to benefit a wider group of individuals and organisations and, ultimately, the Australian economy.