ZEN chosen for first round of ARENA Community Battery Grant

1 July 2024.

Community-based renewable energy solutions are key to building climate resilience, ZEN Energy CEO Anthony Garnaut said following confirmation today the company has received conditional approval of an Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) Community Battery Grant.

ZEN’s community battery project is one of 370 that ARENA has chosen to fund in its first, $143 million-dollar, round of grants. ARENA received an unprecedented amount of applications received with a total grant request of $1.3 billion.

The Community Batteries for Household Solar program will improve access to distributed battery storage for households and community organisations across Australia.

Receiving a conditional ARENA Community Battery Grant will enable projects to prove the financial and emissions reduction benefits of integrating energy storage in and around the daily lives of people, Anthony said.

“ZEN’s community battery project will help to improve community energy-independence and contribute to the knowledge necessary to become more resilient to climate damage.

“We wish to see community batteries enable cheaper, cleaner energy storage for households and businesses, and provide valuable knowledge that can be shared across Australia to fast-track the implementation of these local batteries.”

Media enquiries: Paul Sheridan, 0410 516 656, paul.sheridan@zenenergy.com.au

In-depth community research reveals the challenges of change to renewable energy.

3 June 2024.

A majority of Australians, particularly younger people, place the collective benefits of action on climate change and lower electricity prices ahead of their individual concerns about the impacts of development, as Australia’s transition to renewable energy gathers pace.

This and other first results of This is Transition, a 12-month study of community opinions, values and motivations impacting the country’s shift from coal and gas-fired electricity to renewable power have today been published. The study, conducted by highly regarded research firm, Essential Research, has been commissioned by Australia’s first 1.5°C energy company, ZEN Energy.

This is Transition has also identified warning signs that public support is at risk if communication to communities about the ability of renewable technologies to replace fossil fuel generation isn’t consistent or reinforced over time.

Key findings include:

  • 57% of Australians believe the main benefits of the renewable energy transition will be meaningful action on climate change, lower energy costs and new career opportunities. Only 17% do not believe there will be any economic benefits.
  • 54% of Australians, and 61% of young Australians 18-34 years, believe meeting national commitments to cutting climate emissions and transitioning to renewable energy should be prioritised over local community concerns about project development. 52% of people aged 55 years and older believe local community concerns should be prioritised.
  • The number one concern about new energy project development is impacts on the natural environment, including wildlife (61%), while the main concern for 27% of people is visual impacts of development and transmission lines.
  • Australians believe there are two main reasons why the country’s energy transition is facing difficulties: that the technology isn’t advanced enough, and that governments haven’t provided enough leadership.
  • 53% of Australians want renewable energy developers to collaborate with and involve them in decision-making, but only 10% of people support decision-making power being handed over to communities.
  • In quantitative discussions, the majority of respondents said community consultation is often tokenistic and only a genuine partnership will result in a project being accepted by a local community.

ZEN Energy CEO Anthony Garnaut said the findings of This is Transition reinforces the challenges individual renewable projects are having and highlighted the need for consistent leadership from industry and government.

“This research demonstrates that people don’t view the transition in isolation or on a project-by-project basis. It reinforces ZEN’s focus on solutions that will secure a healthy, safe future for all.

“The findings show Australians have consultation fatigue and only genuine partnerships will earn a project a social licence. ZEN understands this is a transition that cannot afford to fail. We encourage all developers to engage early, involve people in decision-making and co-design of projects.”

Media contact: Paul Sheridan, paul.sheridan@zenenergy.com.au, 0410 516 656.