Industry heavyweights join initiative to reduce emissions

WOODSIDE Petroleum, BP Australia and AGIG are among some of the industrial giants to have signed on to an initiative with superfunds, banks and NGOs looking at ways to reduce Australia’s emissions.
Industry heavyweights join initiative to reduce emissions Industry heavyweights join initiative to reduce emissions Industry heavyweights join initiative to reduce emissions Industry heavyweights join initiative to reduce emissions Industry heavyweights join initiative to reduce emissions

Mark Tilly


Mark Tilly

The companies have signed on to the Australian Industry Energy Transitions Initiative, and are joined by National Australia Bank, Schneider Electric and Australian Super, as part of the Initiative's wide-scope approach.

The Initiative has been convened by ClimateWorks Australia and Climate-KIC Australia, in collaboration with the UK's Energy Transitions Commission, the group tasked with charting the course to decarbonise the UK's economy to net-zero emissions by 2050. 

While the Australian ETI does not have a hard target, it aims to harness industry knowledge to develop pathways that can accelerate reducing emissions in Australia's industrial sector across whole supply chains. 

It comes as energy companies are facing growing investor and public pressure to articulate their decarbonisation plans, with the number of shareholders asking how their business models align with the Paris Agreement growing every annual general meeting.  

Despite the rapid reduction of emissions in Australia's electricity sector, the country's overall emission reduction efforts have stalled over the last five years due to accelerating industrial emissions.

The Initiative is looking at hard-to-abate sectors, including steel, aluminium, LNG, and chemicals, and is chaired by Monash University Chancellor, former CSIRO chairman and former Australian of the year Simon McKeon. 

"We know that we can find solutions more quickly, and start implementing them, if we're encouraging collaborative learning and knowledge sharing, especially when it comes to new technology," he said. 

The initiative notes the race is on to reap the benefits of a decarbonised economy, given regions like the EU and the UK have announced ambitious decarbonisation strategies, making use of green hydrogen and the massive rollout of renewables to kickstart their economies in the wake of COVID-19. 

"There are huge opportunities for Australian businesses if they take a proactive approach to getting into this race," ClimateWorks CEO Anna Skarbek said.    

"The good news is that the Energy Transitions Commission and others have shown that technologies can eliminate the emissions from our heavy industry supply chains. Better understanding these opportunities for Australian industry will be a key focus of the initiative." 

The Initiative has government support, with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency committing $300,000 to assist with the project. 

"Accelerating the uptake of renewable energy for the industrial sector is a critical part in Australia meeting its long term emissions reductions commitments," ARENA CEO Darren Miller said. 

"A fast transition to renewables and alternative fuels will also help industry meet market needs as a global demand for low carbon products grows, which will produce lower energy costs and continue to support jobs in the sector."

The Initiative will hold several workshops over the next six months, and is in early stage talks with the government to help inform its Technology Investment Roadmap. 

"AGIG is proud to support and be part of the Australian Industry Energy Transition Initiative working alongside other key industry participants," AGIG CEO Ben Wilson said. 

"AGIG is investing in the long-term interests of all of our customers and the environment, and has already invested in a number of innovative hydrogen projects across Australia."

Earlier this month Australia's largest electrolyser arrived at AGIG's $11.4 million Hydrogen Park South Australia as part of its trial to inject hydrogen into the state's gas network.

It is one of several hydrogen injection projects underway around Australia, as each state races ahead to commercialise the gas which is seen as a crucial element to decarbonise hard-to-abate industrial sectors.