Government's low emissions roadmap to we're not quite sure yet

THE federal government has outlined what technologies it plans to use to lower emissions, releasing its first Low Emissions Technology Statement which commits A$18 billion in funding to hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, heavy industry and farming.

Signposts five technologies, but doesn’t say where they lead

Signposts five technologies, but doesn’t say where they lead

Like much of the government's announcements over the past week, industry's reaction to the government's plans have been mixed, with groups welcoming some elements of the plan, but criticising the lack of overarching policy framework, or an emissions reduction target post-2030. 

The statement outlines five priority technologies: hydrogen, CCS, low carbon manufacturing, energy storage, and soil carbon. 

It also features economic stretch goals to make the new technologies as cost-effective as possible including hydrogen production under $2 per kilogram, energy storage dispatched at less than $100 per megawatt hour and CCS for under $20 per tonne of CO2 stored.

"The government expects to invest more than $18 billion in low emissions technologies over the decade to 2030, in order to drive at least $50 billion of new investment over the next ten years," Energy and emissions reduction minister Angus Taylor told the National Press Club. 

"Getting the technologies of the future right will support 130,000 jobs by 2030 and avoid in the order of 250 million tonnes of emissions in Australia by 2040."

The statement has lofty ambitions but there is a distinct lack of detail in how it defined a "low" or "green" or "clean" technology.

 Taylor said the technologies were chosen based on how they could "move the dial in a significant way in reducing emissions" adding that it was important to have "as many horses in the race as possible". 

While investor groups have signalled they need a post-2030 emissions reduction target to spur confidence, Taylor said the fact that it was investing A$18 billion in new technologies should make up for the lack of a target because the government was "putting its money where its mouth is". 

This was disputed by Investor Group on Climate Change, a fund that manages some A$2 trillion, saying while the map "took steps" in investing in emerging technologies to reduce emissions, it needed a 2050 net-zero destination. 

"The Technology Investment Roadmap is not a substitute for a coherent national climate policy framework for the entire economy and a clear target for net zero emissions by 2050," policy director Erwin Jackson said. 

"The scale of investment needed to reach net zero emissions and the natural fiscal constraints of federal budgets means engaging private capital is critical to any successful climate policy."

Clean Energy Council CEO Kane Thornton said the roadmap "is no substitute for a comprehensive energy transition strategy, including target and policy, to lead the shift to clean energy."


Energy and emissions reduction minister Angus Taylor

In a statement to Energy News, Woodside CEO Peter Coleman however said the government's stretch goals would give a clear target for industry and government to strive towards. 

"We are actively pursuing both domestic and export hydrogen opportunities and expanding our carbon-capturing native tree planting projects," he said.  

Energy Users Association of Australia CEO Andrew Richards said the statement "focusses on the gaps in technology, funding, policy and regulation, and will mean we are better placed to facilitate the transition of energy markets and ensure that Australia's energy intensive industry has a future."

The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association head Andrew McConville welcomed the commitments the statement made to carbon capture and storage in natural gas processing. 

"If these technologies achieve widespread deployment globally, they will significantly reduce emissions from energy, transport, agriculture and heavy industry," he said. 

Smart Energy Council chief John Grimes however slammed the statement, saying the roadmap would lead to "a dead end". 

"We already have the cheap, clean technology that can respond today.  This Roadmap does not tell us where we are going, by design.  It is intended to impede, not facilitate clean energy progress," he said. 

Taylor said the government was advised by a "large" number of stakeholders to inform the statement. 

The Ministerial Reference Panel in the statement notes its members include Australia's chief scientist Dr Alan Finkel, Australian Energy Market Operator chairman Drew Clarke, AGIG CEO Ben Wilson and Macquarie Group CEO Shemara Wikramanyake.



A growing series of reports, each focused on a key discussion point for the energy sector, brought to you by the Energy News Bulletin Intelligence team.

A growing series of reports, each focused on a key discussion point for the energy sector, brought to you by the Energy News Bulletin Intelligence team.


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