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A photo of a female ARENA staff member standing and speaking to a room of seated participants in an ARENA collaboration eventImage credit: ARENA

Building networks and collaborating across the energy sector to build skills, encourage dialogue and help meet emerging challenges is a core activity for ARENA.

Activity performance measures

Collaborate with, and facilitate collaboration between, other persons, organisations and governments (including international collaborations)

Energy sector transformation benefits from coordination between many different players across government, industry and the research sector.

ARENA’s innovation lab, A-Lab, contributed to increased coordination and collaboration by creating cross-sector partnerships and world-first projects to transition Australia to clean energy. A-Lab brought together a diverse network of people with the expertise and passion to drive systemic change in the electricity sector.


Number of joint activities/arrangements undertaken or supported by ARENA including A-Lab activities


Corporate Plan 2018-19 p14-15


The activities reported under this performance measure are an indicator of ARENA’s contribution to improving collaboration within the energy sector.


ARENA established or maintained seven memorandums of understanding during 2018-19 covering joint or coordinated activities between ARENA and parties including AEMO, the AEMC, CEFC, the South Australian Government and New South Wales Government.


ARENA organised two significant A-Lab events during the year, helping to develop and test ideas to further renewable energy in Australia.

Incubate 2018 (Melbourne)

This was A-Lab’s first ever project incubate program using a three-day competitive format. Its aims were to refine renewable energy project ideas and develop detailed business plans for testing with industry.

ARENA invited the public to submit their best ideas to help accelerate Australia to transition to renewable energy. The ten teams invited to participate generated ten project ideas of which six applied for ARENA funding and one was successful in receiving funding.

Ideate (Alice Springs)

This event was the first regional A-Lab event. Its aim was to generate ideas and projects to tackle some of the significant challenges facing the Alice Springs power system. The event drew together more than 50 people from 29 organisations, with more than half of those organisations coming from outside the NT.

This event generated more than 200 new ideas, translated them into 19 project concepts, and finally pitched nine project ideas to the A-Lab ‘Dolphin Tank’ which included the NT Minister for Renewable Energy and Essential Services, the Hon Dale Wakefield.

To deliver this session the A-Lab team partnered with the Intyalheme Centre for New Energy in Alice Springs. Since the event, the Intyalheme team has continued to work with A-Lab participants to further develop their ideas and concepts. This has resulted in the development of the Alice Springs Future Grid Project, an amalgamation of several of the ideas created at A-Lab and the continued collaboration of the participants.

The A-Lab events brought together participants from 15 different sectors of the energy system representing: industry associations, consulting firms, customers, distributed energy resources sector, developers, electric vehicle sector, finance sector, generators, government, market bodies, metering companies, network service providers, research sector, retailers and technology providers. Participants represented all states and territories.


Number and type of meetings with governments


Corporate Plan p14-15


Information provided under this performance measure is an indicator of ARENA’s contribution to joined up government and reflects ARENA’s efforts to share information and collaborate with other Commonwealth and State and Territory government agencies.


The ARENA Executive Leadership Team collectively had more than 150 meetings with governments. This included meetings with Members of Parliament, Commonwealth Government departments and agencies, state and territory government departments and agencies and foreign government officials and agencies. ARENA’s General Manager of Strategy met with Japanese Government officials and agencies, Belgian officials and German officials. ARENA’s CEO met with a Singaporean delegation.

The types of meetings included cross-agency coordination, information exchanges, development of joint activities, negotiation of MOUs, consultation and ARENA acting in an advisory capacity.

ARENA’s Business Development and Transactions team held meetings with officials from all states and territories to explore and pursue collaborative initiatives relating to renewable energy. These included:

  • meeting on a regular basis with NSW officials regarding NSW’s Emerging Energy Fund
  • discussions with Queensland officials on ARENA’s dispatchability and concentrating solar thermal studies; renewable hydrogen initiatives and energy from waste funding opportunities
  • discussions with Victorian officials regarding collaboration in hydrogen and microgrids
  • discussions with South Australian officials ahead of agreeing an MOU on the SA Grid Scale Storage Fund (GSSF)
  • discussions with Western Australian officials regarding potential joint initiatives in hydrogen deployment and VPP opportunities
  • a series of meetings with Northern Territory officials regarding hydrogen opportunities
  • regular meetings with Hydro Tasmania and TasNetworks.

Outcome performance measures

Increased collaboration on energy innovation

Collaboration improves the sharing of knowledge and the pace of innovation. As a Commonwealth agency, ARENA is committed to supporting a whole of sector approach to the energy transition.

The benefits of increased collaboration include:

  • early identification of opportunities
  • generation of ideas
  • more efficient and effective use of resources
  • reducing costs
  • improved decision-making.


Number and quality of new partnership arrangements in the energy sector (including collaborations entered into by participants in ARENA-funded projects)


Corporate Plan 2018-19 p14-15


The ARENA Act requires ARENA, if appropriate, to collaborate with other parties in performing its functions. This measure relates to the extent to which ARENA is doing this. Evidence that ARENA is enabling more diverse partnerships is a strong indicator of our effectiveness in this role.



The Distributed Energy Integration Program (DEIP) is a collaboration of 13 organisations including government agencies, energy peak bodies, market authorities, industry and consumer associations.

The aim of the collaboration is to maximise the value of customers’ distributed resources for all energy users.

The premise is that a forum for information exchange and collaboration on DER issues will enable a more efficient identification of knowledge gaps and priorities and thereby accelerate market reform in the interest of customers.

ARENA played a key role in establishing DEIP and provides ongoing support as a member of the secretariat, along with AEMO and AEMC.

ARENA has a number of strategic collaborations, and in 2018-19 the following delivered notable outcomes:


Under the MOU in place since May 2017, the shared work program has delivered several collaborative initiatives. These include the Demand Response RERT trial, ARENA’s Short-Term Forecasting initiative, and innovative proof-of-concept projects such as the Hornsdale Wind Farm Stage 2 (HWF2) FCAS Trial.

  • GENCOST 2018

ARENA was a member of the reference group and contributor to this report which provides updated projections of electricity generation technology costs. GenCost 2018 is a collaboration between CSIRO and AEMO, supported by ARENA, the Department of the Environment and Energy and industry stakeholders, established to produce annual cost estimates to guide strategic decision making, given technology costs change significantly each year. GenCost 2018 informed AEMO’s assumptions for its 2019 planning and forecasting publications.


ARENA was a key contributor to the Chief Scientist’s Hydrogen Strategy Group and Taskforce, which delivered the briefing paper ‘Hydrogen for Australia’s Future’ to the COAG Energy Council in August 2018, which led to the Energy Council’s request for the development of a National Hydrogen Strategy. ARENA is contributing to the National Hydrogen Strategy through provision of subject matter expertise, including through representation on the Stakeholder Advisory Panel.


ARENA facilitated the formation of new and diverse partnerships through the projects that it funded. Seventy per cent of new projects funded involved two or more organisations, and half of the new projects involved three or more organisations. More than one quarter of projects involved international partners contributing to knowledge and skills transfer. The new projects funded in 2018- 19 involved more than 200 organisations spanning the corporate, industrial, professional services, government, research and not-for-profit sectors.