Substantial funding has been committed to renewable energy activities through Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). As ARENA approaches the end of its legislated funding, it is important to provide the Parliament with assurance over the effectiveness of ARENA’s grants management in improving the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies and increasing the supply of renewable energy in Australia.
The objective of the audit was to assess the effectiveness of grant program management by ARENA. The following high-level criteria were used to form a conclusion against this objective:
- Does grant selection support the achievement of ARENA’s objectives?
- Are grant funding agreements managed effectively?
- Does evaluation of grant programs indicate that ARENA is achieving its objectives?
- While ARENA’s grant program management is largely effective, its evaluation and performance reporting frameworks do not clearly demonstrate that its grant funding is increasing the supply and competitiveness of renewable energy in Australia beyond what would otherwise have occurred.
- Strategic planning and grant project selection largely aligns with ARENA’s objectives. ARENA’s performance measurement framework does not provide a reliable basis to demonstrate to the Parliament and the public that ARENA is achieving its objectives.
- ARENA’s management of grant funding agreements is largely effective. Improvements are required to ARENA’s management of variations and its integration of electronic systems with its business processes.