Australian government funds fast-charger expansion
On behalf of the Australian government, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has awarded funding totaling 24.55 million Australian dollars (roughly 15,2 million euros) to five providers to build a total of 403 new fast-charging stations.
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The $24.55 million AUD in funding will go to five applicants across 19 projects to expand Australia’s fast-charging network for battery electric vehicles. This is the first round of the Government’s Future Fuels Fund. ARENA says it has increased the funding amount of $16.5 million (AUD) by a further $8.05 million after registering high interest from applicants. “The proposals we received were of such high quality, we were compelled to increase the funding,” said ARENA CEO Darren Miller. “We’re delighted to be able to support more than 400 charging stations across the country.”
The electric car charging network provider Evie Networks will receive $8.85 million for 158 charging points. Ampol will receive $7.05 million for 121 fast chargers, while Engie will receive $6.85 million for 103 fast chargers. The much smaller lots went to Chargefox ($1.4 million for 16 charging points) and Electric Highways Tasmania with $400,000 for five fast chargers.
As part of the first round, the charging stations will be located in eight geographic regions with 14 of the country’s most populous cities. In addition to capital cities in every state, regional centres such as Geelong, Newcastle, Wollongong, and the Sunshine Coast will each receive at least eight new fast-charging stations.
“As the costs of electric vehicles come down, more consumers and fleet users are looking to go electric,” Miller says. “Expanding the fast charging network will make it easier than ever to drive an EV in Australia.”
Update 25 October 2021:
The Australian petroleum company Ampol, which had been awarded $7.05 million (AUS – roughly 4.81 million euros) of the funding, has now indicated that construction is to begin shortly. This means 121 of the company’s existing petrol stations will each receive a 50 kW charging station with two connections. According to photos published, the Ampol is using charging stations made by the Australian manufacturer Tritium.
The installation of the charge points along Ampol’s petrol station network is co-funded by the Australian government. The other part of the costs involved are being footed by Ampol itself. Here the company says it is investing $100 million (AUD – equivalent to around 64 million euros) on future energy projects by 2025. This includes “new energy solutions in areas such as electricity, hydrogen, gas, biofuels and carbon mitigation,” the company says.
Since Australia has a fairly unique challenge of intensely populated cities with extremely sparse country and regional populations over vast distances, grid connections and the storage of bountiful renewable energy resources is an issue for longer journeys. Here, green hydrogen can play a key role – in both storage as well as a direct fuel – the latter is especially useful for heavy-duty vehicles over longer distances.
Ampol states that its work “includes a partnership with Main Sequence and the CSIRO to support the launch of a new Australian clean energy storage start-up – Endua – to develop a hydrogen-based microgeneration and storage technology solution that can displace traditional fuels.” The transitioning fossil fuel company says they are also piloting a green hydrogen production plant at Lytton (in the tropical state of Queensland), “highlighting the important role existing infrastructure and manufacturing skills will play in supporting the energy transition.”
Including reporting by Carrie Hampel