Clean Energy Future Fund

The Clean Energy Future Fund supports innovative Western Australian clean energy projects.
Last updated:
Important Update: Round 3 Closing Date Extended! 

The closing date for Round 3 has been extended from 10 June 2024 to 24 June 2024.
Closing time remains 8am AWST.
Don’t miss out – submit your applications before the new deadline.
If you have any questions, get in touch via 08 6364 6988 or ceff@dwer.wa.gov.au

Clean Energy Future Fund banner

The Clean Energy Future Fund supports the implementation of innovative clean energy projects in Western Australia that offer high public value through the following outcomes:

  • significant, cost-effective reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below projected (or baseline) emissions as a direct result of the clean energy project
  • design, deployment, testing or demonstration of innovative clean energy projects likely to deliver community benefits or lead to broad adoption and significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

As part of the Sectoral emissions reduction strategy released in December 2023, the State Government is investing an additional $18 million to 2030‒31 ($11.2 million to 2026‒27) to expand the Clean Energy Future Fund, to support trials and implementation of new technologies necessary for Western Australia’s net zero transition.

The Clean Energy Future Fund was first launched in 2020 and is administered by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation with support from Energy Policy WA.

Round 3 is now open

Key informationValue
Grant size range$100,000 to $4 million (GST exclusive)
Total funds available$21.7 million is available for grants over the next three funding rounds.
Maximum percentage of eligible project costs the grant can cover25 per cent
Maximum time to spend funds5 years
Funding mechanismThe grant is paid by milestone in arrears on evidence the milestone has been completed and paid for.
Fund opens for applications21 March 2024
Grant application workshops/webinars

About the grant – 11am, 28 March 2024

The presentation slides and a recording of the session are available for viewing. 

Completing the financial model – 10am, 4 April 2024

The presentation slides and a recording of the session are available for viewing. 

Question and Answer Session – 3 pm 16 May 2024 (30 minutes)
 

Application closing date8am AWST, Monday 24 June 2024
Applicants notified of outcome and successful projects announcedEstimated late 2024
Clean Energy Future Fund contact details08 6364 6988 | ceff@dwer.wa.gov.au
Who can apply

At the time of entering into a Funding Agreement, the applicant must be an Australian entity incorporated under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) or the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (Cth) or a local government entity, government research organisation, university, or a consortium with an eligible entity as lead applicant.

Further eligibility requirements are outlined in the applicant guidelines.

Merit criteria

The merit criteria target projects with high emissions reduction and other benefits, with strong potential for wider adoption, that are likely to succeed and that need funding support.

More details are outlined in the applicant guidelines.

Ministerial priorities

The Minister for Energy; Environment; Climate Action has identified the following priorities for this round of funding:

  • clean energy projects led by First Nations people that put their communities at the centre of development, design, implementation, and benefit-sharing
  • innovative clean energy projects in regional and remote Western Australia (projects that are at the fringe of, or are not connected to, the South West Interconnected System or the North West Interconnected System)
  • clean energy projects that improve the security and resilience of networked electricity supply in line with the Distributed Energy Resources Roadmap
  • clean energy projects that support decarbonisation of existing industry and the development of new, low-emissions industries in Western Australia
  • projects that enhance energy efficiency and materially reduce emissions from the built environment or manufacturing
  • clean energy projects that support the replacement of diesel electricity generation with renewable energy
  • projects that can deliver long-duration energy storage by 2030.

How to apply

The application process has been updated and now uses SmartyGrants. New templates are provided for your application’s financial model and risk register.

Applicants should review the applicant guidelines then complete their application via the department’s SmartyGrants portal. The following resources are provided to support your application:

Submissions are deemed to be received at the time they are lodged in the SmartyGrants platform. Applications received after the closing date will not be accepted.

Please direct any questions to ceff@dwer.wa.gov.au

Questions and answers

If you have questions regarding the grant program, you can direct them to ceff@dwer.wa.gov.au. For fairness reasons, all questions and responses that provide additional information to applicants will be published here. 

Questions may be edited for clarity or to protect the identity of the sender. If you have subscribed for email updates, or registered to apply for a grant, you will be notified of new answers posted. If you have not subscribed, you should check back regularly.

1. Can I submit more than one application?Yes, more than one application may be submitted.
2. How do I complete the financial model if I am applying for funding for a pilot project, with a commercial-scale project to follow?

The expenditure, funding sources and modules for the pilot must be clearly separated from those for the future project. The easiest way to achieve this is to complete a financial model for the pilot and another separate model for the future commercial project showing the potential benefits.

The financial model template may be modified if necessary. Please indicate the changes made to the template if you have done so. 

3. Can we apply for funding for front-end engineering design?Yes. Section 5 of the applicant guidelines  includes essential non-equipment expenditure including design, professional services as eligible expenditure.
4. Are projects that produce energy in the form of fuel (hydrogen, ammonia, biogas, etc.) eligible?

Yes. Applications should provide evidence for the greenhouse gas intensity of the planned product(s).

For applications relating to renewable hydrogen, applicants may also wish to contact the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation’s Renewable Hydrogen Unit.

5. Are projects to replace other fossil fuels with natural gas eligible?Projects proposing replacement of diesel or coal with gas are likely to have a lower merit score and be less aligned with Ministerial priorities than those replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy.

6. Are all Ministerial priorities equally weighted?

My project does not meet the Ministerial priorities. Can I still apply?

There is no weighting attached to the Ministerial priorities. Ministerial priorities provide guidance to applicants on areas for which project proposals would be welcomed.

Applications are not required to meet Ministerial priorities to be eligible for consideration.

7. Which projects are excluded by the stationary energy requirement?

The definition of a clean energy project is a project that deploys or applies a technology that reduces greenhouse gas emissions from the production or use of stationary energy.

Stationary energy excludes the use of energy for the purpose of transportation.

Energy use for transport purposes is defined as any of the following:

a) transport by vehicles registered for road use

b) rail transport

c) water-borne transport

d) air transport.

This aligns with Subsection 2.41(2) of the Federal Register of Legislation - National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (Measurement) Determination 2008.

8. Is there a map or definition of which areas are considered fringe of grid?There is not a strict definition. Generally, the fringe of the grid is at or close to the edge of the distribution network, where there is a low density of customers (which can sometimes be well within the South West Interconnected System) or where location is causing reliability, quality, electrical loss, or cost issues. The grid refers to the state’s two largest electricity networks, the South West Interconnected System and North West Interconnected System.
9. What are the roles and requirements of the lead applicant and any other consortium members? Are there any mandatory requirements of each?

The lead applicant is generally the entity that will own the assets while they are developed under the proposal, and that will sign the funding agreement and be responsible for meeting the recipient obligations.

Other consortium members may provide capital, resources, expertise or other assistance. 

11. Where a project significantly increases the load on a grid and it can be demonstrated that the resulting incremental grid capacity growth is predominantly by renewable energy, can the incremental carbon intensity of the grid growth be used in the funding application?

Projects should use the emissions intensity for the power they plan to purchase. For grid-sourced power where there is no direct relationship with a power producer, the published emissions intensity for that grid can be used.

Where your additional demand is large enough that new generation capacity will need to be created, it is expected that your application would indicate plans to source this generation capacity. You should use the modelled emissions intensity of that new generation regardless of whether that power is to be supplied via the grid.

12. Are control or grid management systems for electric vehicle charging excluded as transport?

A clean energy project is defined as one that deploys or applies a technology that reduces greenhouse gas emissions from the production or use of stationary energy. This excludes the use of energy for the purpose of transportation.

Transport-related technologies (such as charging control or grid management systems) that provide decarbonisation benefits to the electricity grid may apply based on those benefits.

13. Will grant expenditure require external audits?Yes. The standard funding agreement requires the annual report (which contains a financial report) to be audited by a professionally accredited external auditor.
14. How soon will I receive my milestone grant payment after I have submitted my milestone completion report?The department will pay invoices within 30 days of receiving satisfactory evidence of milestone completion and expenditure.
15. I am planning to submit a project for a group of councils under a regional council. Do you require organisation capacity evidence and insurances for our regional council and the local governments we are submitting the application for?Organisational capacity should be evidenced for whichever organisation(s) will perform the project tasks. Where these organisations are not the applicant, evidence of their commitment to participate should be provided. Evidence of insurances should be from the party that carries the relevant risk.
15. Can you start the project once you have submitted the application (design, site works)?

Committing significant funds to a project before the funding outcome is known would be likely to undermine the justification for government funding.

In addition, any costs committed before signing the funding agreement for the project may not be eligible.

17. My project involves working with a Western Australian Government Trading Enterprise, which will provide in-kind support, such as access to facilities, equipment and expertise.
Does this count as State Government funding in assessing the 25 per cent maximum funding rule?
No. The 25 per cent rule is designed to limit the State Government’s financial exposure to a specific project, so other funders must also assess it as fundable before it can proceed. Where the in-kind contribution is specific to and necessary for the project and not simply a substitute for funding, it is treated as separate to this financial exposure.
18. Are Western Australian Government Trading Enterprises (GTEs) eligible?Western Australian GTEs are not eligible to apply as a lead applicant. GTEs can partner with an eligible lead applicant.
19. Where can I get emissions factors for the products my application uses?

Future projections are available here: https://www.dcceew.gov.au/climate-change/publications/australias-emissions-projections-2022

Current values are available here: https://www.dcceew.gov.au/climate-change/publications/national-greenhouse-accounts-factors-2023.

20. The eligibility criteria say that a project can’t have started, but this is also mentioned in the merit criteria.Projects that are clearly already in-progress and committed are not eligible. Where the status is less clear, it will be assessed under the Need for the Grant merit criterion which allows assessment on a scale of likelihood. We assess whether the project is likely to proceed without the grant.
21. Is a corporation that is a corporate trustee eligible?No. Trusts are not eligible in this round and a corporate trustee effectively acts for the trust.
22. Is an offshore wind farm in Commonwealth waters eligible?If the onshore components and the site where the power comes ashore are in WA, the requirement to be in WA is deemed to be met.

Round 1 outcome

Round one applications closed on 13 July 2020, and two applicants were successful for grants totalling $2.6 million. Together the projects will create more than 365 construction jobs and 22 ongoing jobs.

Each year, the projects will generate 80,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity – enough to power 16,000 houses and save 130,000 tonnes of carbon emissions, which is equal to taking 42,000 cars off the road.

The successful projects were:

  • Nomadic Energy – $1 million – to install 5 megawatts (MW) of modular, re-deployable solar panels at Northern Star’s Carosue Dam gold mine. The flexibility to redeploy the solar panels removes a key barrier to using green energy at mine sites, where a mine may cease operating before the cost of the solar panels has been recovered. The installation is complete and generating more energy than modelled.
  • ResourcesWA – $1.6 million – to install 30 MW of solar power at the Homestead mine site in the Goldfields, supplying power to the Paddington Mill and Mungari Mill sites and batteries at each of the mills (10 MW and 5 MW respectively, each with one hour’s storage). This will reduce the impact of outages and support Western Power’s local substation. This project is in progress.

Round 2 outcome

Round two applications closed on 22 April 2021 and six projects were successful in winning grants totalling $9.3 million. The projects will test critical low-carbon technologies and support Western Australia to achieve our target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Together, the six projects are expected to:

  • invest about $170 million, much of it in Western Australia
  • create up to 255 jobs during construction, and 63 ongoing jobs
  • generate 81,000 MWh each year, enough to power 16,000 average WA homes
  • avoid about 132,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year or 2.4 million tonnes over their design lives.

If the pilot projects are successful and technologies prove commercially viable, the six projects could lead to lifetime emissions reduction of 71 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent just in Western Australia, with significant potential for wider adoption of the technologies developed.

The successful projects were:

  • Frontier Impact Group’s Narrogin Renewable Diesel Project as part of the FutureEnergy Australia joint venture with Carnarvon Energy Ltd – $2 million – to build a high-temperature pyrolysis plant to produce 18 million litres of renewable diesel per year, as well as biochar and wood vinegar.
  • Power Research and Development’s Pumped-up Walpole project – $2 million – to build 1.5 MW pumped hydroelectric storage in Walpole using two farm dams to store 30 MWh and increase grid reliability.
  • Advanced Energy Resources’ Moora Microgrid project – $1.8 million – to build a wind, solar and battery microgrid incorporating biogas and existing solar generation. This will serve a piggery, citrus farm and potentially other farms in Moora.
  • Alcoa’s Electric Calcination project – $1.7 million – to pilot replacing gas with electricity for calcination of alumina to decarbonise the refining process, giving Western Australia a commercial advantage to grow a green aluminium industry with our abundant renewable resources.
  • Metro Power Company’s Ambrisolar Battery Energy Storage System project – $340,000 – to add solar generation and a DC-coupled battery to an existing solar farm in Merredin.
  • Alinta Energy’s Port Hedland Big Battery project – $1.5 million – to add battery storage to a gas-fired power station to replace spinning reserve, which burns gas, with energy stored in the battery to provide instant support to the grid when needed.

Strike Energy’s Mid West Geothermal Project – to drill a pilot well to demonstrate geothermal energy near Dongara to enable a future 180 MW project – was withdrawn by the applicant before commencement. 

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