Government funding support for clean energy startups

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced $480,000 in funding over the next 12 months to start-up accelerator program, EnergyLab Australia, to support the Australian startup acceleration program designed to assist clean energy entrepreneurs.

EnergyLab has four core programs:

1) Pre-Acceleration which is about helping entrepreneurs with an idea to test its commercial viability.

2) Acceleration – This is EnergyLab’s flagship program that helps the most promising energy startups launch a product into the market, secure first customers and raise a seed funding round.

3) Scale Up – This program provides late-stage energy startups with introductions to decision-makers at Australia’s most innovative energy utilities, mentorship from Australia’s most successful energy-sector founders, and advice from Australia’s most active energy-sector investors.

4) Women in Clean Energy Fellowship which is about equipping women interested in energy entrepreneurship with the skills, knowledge and support they need to start a company.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the project would help Australia’s brightest clean energy entrepreneurs turn their ideas into reality.

“Startups and entrepreneurs play an important role in accelerating the uptake of clean energy solutions, however, they can also face challenges in reaching scale and aren’t equipped to overcome hurdles such as high capital requirements, geographic constraints and revenue delay. EnergyLab, through mentoring and supporting startups, will help us to see an increase in expertise, skills and capacity in the renewable energy technology sector and identify pathways to commercialisation to keep Australia at the forefront of renewable energy innovation,” Miller said.

“ARENA’s support will enable us to do even more to support Australia’s leading clean energy entrepreneurs,” EnergyLab CEO James Tilbury said.

“In particular, this funding allows us to launch a Scale Up Program to provide the best late-stage energy startups with the support they need to reach their full potential.”

Since 2017, EnergyLab has supported over 80 Australian energy startups through its programs. This includes the innovative energy retailer Amber Electric that allows customers to reduce their energy costs via access to wholesale electricity prices. Amber Electric recently closed a $2.5 million funding round.

Recruitment of entrepreneurs and startups for the Scale Up program is underway now, with chosen applicants to be announced later in 2020.

EnergyLab is supported by a number of energy industry stakeholders such as Origin Energy, APA Group, Powerlink, The University of Technology Sydney, Ausnet Services, Climate-KIC, KPMG, Aperion Law, and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.