Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Government Grants for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy have Stimulated a Fascinating Range of Projects in Australia

Grant funding in recent years includes federal schemes such Clean Technology Investment Program (CTIP) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).  CTIP has been very successful in stimulating industrial energy efficiency and solar photovoltaic projects throughout Australia. A list of funded projects is provided on the Ausindustry website.

Energy related grant programs are generally designed to
  • Increase the efficiency and therefore competitiveness of businesses
  • Increase the use of latest efficient technology and migrate away from outdated, more wasteful technology
  • Create pioneering examples demonstrating successful use of new efficient technology
  • Increase confidence among Australian market sectors in the use of new more efficient technology
  • Create improved environmental outcomes

If a business has a project in mind which achieves these kinds of goals, it may be that a grant exists which can suit the project.

Finding the right grant to suit the business project involves being aware of all currently active government schemes.  Since grant programs come and go over time, keeping abreast of what is available can be challenging.

Expert companies which specialise in energy efficiency grants and renewable energy grants can be very useful for identifying which grant opportunities suit the business and the project.

Once a specific grant opportunity has been identified, the quality of the application is key to success.

The proposed project must meet the aims of the grant program in order to be awarded funding.  Some grant funding seeks to avoid certain types of projects which are deemed to be already competitive without grant funding. While grant guidelines normally spell out clearly the criteria, sometimes it can be helpful to understand the remit and aims of the grant-awarding body.  Political priorities normally precede a grant program, and sometimes a change of government or policy can change the course or move the goalposts.

State Governments also support energy efficiency and renewable energy through grants, rebates and certificate schemes in Australia.

In Victoria, Sustainability Victoria has provided a number of schemes that are related to energy efficiency grant in Victoria over many years. In 2013-2014, the ‘Smarter Resources Smarter Business’ SRSB scheme supported hundreds of small and medium businesses to improve efficiency.

Application forms are usually clear and often allow supporting attachments.

To succeed, projects must be well planned and have concrete price quotations in place for the specific work being proposed.

Proponents must be prepared to work with the grant approving body’s timeframes, including pausing their project while they await the grant decision.  If a project cannot be postponed then the organisation should consider not applying for a grant in order to have the freedom to proceed at its own preferred pace.

The process of applying should be done methodically. Again, expert assistance from specialist companies such as Enhar Pty Ltd  can make the process smoother and increase the chances of success.

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