Taylor announces CCS, hydrogen focussed road map

ENERGY and emissions reduction minister Angus Taylor gave a keynote speech outlining major details of the government’s Technology Investment Roadmap today.
Taylor announces CCS, hydrogen focussed road map Taylor announces CCS, hydrogen focussed road map Taylor announces CCS, hydrogen focussed road map Taylor announces CCS, hydrogen focussed road map Taylor announces CCS, hydrogen focussed road map

Finkel to chair tech reference group in “bottom up” strategy

Mark Tilly

Journalist

 
In the speech Taylor pointed to the government's preference toward hydrogen and carbon capture and storage in place of wind and solar investment. 
 
The speech was delivered to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, and made it clear the government would not be announcing a post-2030 emission reduction target, yet, with Taylor claiming 70% of the world's GDP had not declared a net-zero by 2050 target.
 
"A target without a plan is foolish. We have a plan, but we must also track progress," he said. 
 
To that end, he announced the first stages of the roadmap which would be the establishment of a ministerial reference group, chaired by Australia's chief scientist, Dr Alan Finkel. 
 
Taylor said the group will be made up of industry, investment, research and government, and will advise on development pathways for new technologies with the group's membership to be announced in coming weeks. 
 
The roadmap will also feature an annual Clean Technology Statement which is designed to provide updates on global technology developments for the government to fine-tune its investment portfolio. 
 
The group will work toward writing a clean technology statement which Taylor expects by the middle of the year. 
 
Taylor said Australia must support technologies that can "win" but also recognise developing technologies that have not been deployed and leave technologies that have reached commercial viability to the private sector. 
 
"We must move our R&D investments and early deployment into the next challenge," he said.  
 
"Hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, lithium and advanced livestock feed supplements, further work on biological sequestration, just to name a few." 
 
He also said the integration of distributed energy and improvements in transmission and demand management also offered opportunities. 
 
While he touted the government's investment in wind, solar and batteries, he did not commit further funding to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, which is expected to exhaust its funds by the end of this year.
 
Instead, Taylor pointed to record levels of private investment into wind and solar as an example that the government no longer needed to invest in the industry despite private sector investment falling by 38% last year due to grid constraints and a lack of clear, long term federal policy. 
 
However, he said he wanted the government to act as a market signal and as a leader, saying for every dollar the government invests, it wants to see $4-$5 returned from the private sector and other levels of government. 
 
"If others aren't matching our investments, its' a clear signal that something is amiss." 
 
EY's Power and Utilities leader Matt Rennie said the timing of Taylor's speech was critical, as Australia was running out of time to maximise the benefits of centralised policy. 
 
He said it was better to provide a concise blueprint for the market to place bets on the technologies that would be best for Australia, describing an emissions target as telling the market where to go, but not how to get there. 
 
"[The blueprint] is now a critical requirement - not only because of the investments required by industry to make it a reality, but also to provide clear policy guidance that AEMO and the AEMC need to start building the frameworks that will enable these investments," Rennie said. 
 
He noted energy planning and governance was still "on a knife edge" pointing to Victoria's recent announcement to go it alone exiting the national energy regime as an example.
 
"There is no doubt that Australia needs both a clear light on the hill in terms of where the energy market is heading, and a bottom up assistance package to help industry get there," he said.