An Australian Government Initiative

Regional Development Australia

RDA ACT: from Renewable Energy to 'the beyond'…

20 November 2018

Since 2014 RDA ACT has worked with ARENA, the NSW and ACT Governments and with key industry stakeholders to establish the SERREE Regional Renewable Energy Industry Cluster - now a significant network with dozens of members and over a thousand people receiving its sought-after market intelligence.

It’s been a dynamic and worthwhile journey (2014-18) and there is much to share. RDA ACT has developed an Introduction to the SERREE Model here. The Model was runner up in the 2017 Australian Regional Development Conference Environment and Sustainability Award category. The approach can be of assistance for other regions wanting to develop a similarly collaborative, cluster-based approach adaptable enough to suit each region’s unique characteristics.

As a result of this initiative the ACT has attracted over $500million in renewable energy investment. The Canberra region hosts eight wind farms, four solar farms, affectionately known as the solar highway, a utility-scale organic waste-to-energy facility, mini-hydroelectricity plants, a world-record solar thermal technology demonstration and an Australian-first renewable energy skills training centre.

RDA ACT intends to use the learnings from this model to help develop and support further industry development in the Capital region. This will include a completing of the “Clean Energy-Food-Water” nexus which will be critical to the success and sustainability of Canberra regional food economy. A major part of the approach will be to encourage further investment—for which a new Renewable Energy Directory 2018, released by the ACT’s Minister for Energy, Shane Rattenbury at last week’s Renewable Energy Business Forum will be of great assistance.

‘The lessons we have learned from the creation of this cluster are applicable across all industries’, said Michael Claessens, Director of Regional Development, RDA ACT. They also resonate strongly with the classical principles for successful hub development:

  • Business in the lead: for a hub to work businesses must want it and be motivated to support it
  • Government in support: the ACT Governments Renewable Energy Policy has provided the seed-bed which has helped facilitate and animate some of the functional aspect to SERREE
  • Academic Underpinning: ANU and various renewable energy research groups have been staunch supporters and providers of the results of relevant research projects

A Renewable Energy Industry Development Resource Kit is now also available on request.