The SERREE initiative was conceived in mid-2011 when a small group identified the potential to develop the region’s economy through promoting the growth of the renewable energy industry in the region. The initiative recognises the cross-border synergies of – the abundance of natural renewable energy resources and the need for jobs in the NSW region, and the industry investment potential of the ACT’s renewable energy policies and its wealth of world-class research capacity.
In 2012, SERREE secured federal Department of Industry funding to map and scope the renewable energy industry in the south east NSW-ACT region. A Project Officer was employed in March 2013 to consult with the region’s renewable energy stakeholders and build a comprehensive regional picture of the local industry from the ground up. A SERREE Project Steering Committee was formed – including representation from Regional Development Australia (RDA): RDA Australian Capital Territory, RDA Southern Inland, and RDA Far South Coast, and across the tiers of government including the ACT – Economic Development Directorate, NSW – Office of Environment and Heritage, and the federal Department of Industry.
During the Project, the SERREE Network grew exponentially and now includes over 1,000 stakeholders, drawn from:
- across the range of renewable energy technologies – solar, wind, hydro, bio, geothermal, wave,
- across (and beyond) the south east NSW-ACT region, and
- across the diversity of the sector’s business and industry, education and research and community groups.
A key recommendation of the SERREE Project is to transition the Network into the SERREE Industry Cluster – a regional exemplar of renewable energy industry excellence, with a global footprint.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and Regional Development Australia (RDA) ACT signed a three-year Funding Agreement (6 August 2014), that will support the establishment of the SERREE Industry Cluster in the south east NSW-ACT region.
RDA ACT is the Cluster funding administrator and SERREE Initiative lead on behalf of partner organisations who have committed additional financial support including the NSW and ACT Governments, RDA Southern Inland, and SERREE Corporate Members.
The SERREE Industry Cluster, will work to:
Facilitate collaboration and knowledge sharing amongst stakeholders by:
- hosting regular industry forums, conferences and other events
- providing information through the SERREE Industry Cluster Web Portal
- developing projects such as the Renewable Energy Trail.
Increase local business capacity and content in renewable energy infrastructure projects within the region;
Facilitate the optimisation of benefit from renewable energy business, investment and market development opportunities identified across the region;
Identify challenges and barriers to increased uptake of renewable energy across the region and develop strategies to overcome these; and
Identify training and skills that are needed in the renewable energy sector within the south east NSW – ACT region, and ensure that courses to be delivered are appropriate to meet the current and future needs of the local industry.
A knowledge-sharing component of the Cluster work will be to establish and document replicable best practice methods for renewable energy industry development that can be adopted to form Industry Clusters in other regions of Australia.