Innovating renewable energy using a sector-wide approach

Renewable sources of energy are essential to a sustainable and clean future. Bringing more renewable energy onto the grid has, however, been challenging. Technical, regulatory and commercial factors often pull in different directions, slowing the adoption of cleaner sources of energy. Change requires coordinated effort between government agencies, established energy companies and small innovators with exciting new technologies.

The role of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is to accelerate this change and bring the best renewable energy ideas to life. A federal government body, ARENA funds new technologies, facilities conversations and shares knowledge about renewable energy.

ARENA partnered with ThinkPlace to stimulate more collaborative innovation and reduce the fragmentation in the energy sector. We brought together innovation experts with a wide range of industry stakeholders, to come up with new ways to adopt more renewable energy.

The result was A-Lab, ARENA’s grid integration innovation lab. A first for the energy sector, A-Lab draws on a network of people with a range of expertise and passion to make systemic change. It includes not just industry representatives but also customers and other related sectors.

This diverse range of stakeholders co-designed A-Lab. We developed an Innovation Model and the concept of innovation frames, tangible and tactical programs of work, to guide new creative solutions. A-Lab is in work right now, engaging electricity sector players and generating new initiatives. Through A-Lab, people work together towards an affordable, reliable and low carbon electricity ecosystem of the future. A-Lab maintains the momentum of ARENA’s work and is sparking mutual commitment to progress projects that, to date, have been pending.

Collaboration is at the heart of transformation of energy sector through genuine, systemic innovation. By bringing together people from diverse backgrounds, projects that are developed through the A-Lab are innovative, collaborative and connected. A-Lab fosters new ideas to reach the renewable energy future faster.