As part of its renewed commitment to cleaner energy and technology, the Australian Government announced a series of initiatives during the 2020 Budget that were designed to help Australia transition to lower overall greenhouse emissions in the year ahead. One of these initiatives was the Future Fuels Fund. This Fund seeks to, among other things, increase the availability of Electric Vehicle (EV) Fast Charging infrastructure around the country.
Over recent months, the Commonwealth Government Agency that has been assigned responsibility for the administration of the Grants Fund has been consulting with industry stakeholders, including ACAPMA, on the design of the fund and the nature of opportunity for industry involvement. These discussions have been productive, with ACAPMA stressing that some fuel retailers were already installing EV charging infrastructure but that the rate of investment was understandably slow given high capital costs and near zero customer demand for charging.
“Nonetheless, we stressed that our industry was watching this agenda closely and was in a position to adapt to provide a national recharging solution when it is ultimately required by the Australian vehicle market”, said ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie.
Earlier this week, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) announced that round 1 of the Future Fuels Fund was now open for applications. A copy of the Guidelines for these grants can be downloaded here Read about the Future Fuels Fund
Applications are being sought for parties interested in delivering fast charging infrastructure on an area basis – as opposed to single site applications – with a view to delivering early fast charging in selected Geographical Zones that include: Greater Sydney (including Newcastle and Wollongong), Greater Melbourne (including Geelong), Greater Brisbane (Including the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast), Perth, Canberra, Adelaide, Hobart and Darwin.
Noting the requirement for applications to be focussed on an area basis, ACAPMA has been working with a number of other stakeholders in the EV industry to explore the possibility of setting up a consortium that could provide a platform for smaller fuel retail business to take advantage of the government grants for establishment of EV fast charging infrastructure at their sites.
“Our plan is to work with EV Technology provider EVERTY and others to create a team that could support fuel retail businesses with the assessment of the opportunity to install EV chargers at their sites, examine suitable business models, and implement and commission recharging infrastructure where suitable”, said Mark.
“In considering this opportunity, it is worth noting that capital assistance will not wholly fund the investment and the fuel retailer will be required to part fund the investment”, said Mark
Given the requirement to submit applications in early April 2020, and the significant amount of information that needs to be considered by fuel retailers wishing to participate in this grants program, ACAPMA will shortly be conducting an online information session for interested retailers to learn more about the opportunity, with a view to becoming a party to the application.
Interested parties are invited to register their interest in the 1-hour information sessions by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org before COB on Friday 26 February 2021. Details of the session will then be emailed to all interested members in preparation for an information session on Thursday 4 March 2021.