Taylor reveals first Low Emissions Technology Statement

Angus Taylor, Low Emissions Technology Statement
Mick Tsikas/AAP

Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor has released the Government’s first Low Emissions Technology Statement–the first milestone in Australia’s Technology Investment Roadmap.

The Statement outlines five priority technologies and economic stretch goals to make new technologies as cost-effective as existing technologies. These are:

  • Hydrogen production under $2 per kilogram.
  • Long duration energy storage (six to eight hours or more) dispatched at less than $100 per MWh – this will enable reliable, firmed wind and solar at prices around the average wholesale electricity price of today.
  • Low carbon materials – low emissions steel production under $900 per tonne, low emissions aluminium under $2700 per tonne.
  • CCS – CO₂ compression, hub transport, and storage under $20 per tonne of CO₂.
  • Soil carbon measurement under $3 per hectare per year – a 90 per cent reduction from today’s measurement costs and would transform the economics of soil carbon projects for Australian farmers.

The Government will now commence eleven key actions:

  • Establishing a Technology Investment Framework to prioritise the Government’s investments in new technologies.
  • Investing $1.9 billion in a new energy technology package; establishing Australia’s first regional hydrogen export hub, a King Review Co-Investment Fund, a CCS Deployment Fund and a Future Fuels Fund to support new and emerging technologies.
  • Finalising new or revised Emissions Reduction Fund methods to support CCS and soil carbon within 12 months.
  • Commencing a soil carbon innovation challenge to rapidly reduce the cost of measuring the impact of new farming practices on soil carbon sequestration.
  • Introducing legislative reforms to ARENA and the CEFC to give their boards flexibility to respond to the Government’s priorities.
  • Requiring key agencies (ARENA, CEFC and the CER) to focus on accelerating the priority technologies.
  • Directing key agencies to publicly report on what action they are taking to accelerate the priority technologies.
  • Establishing a permanent Technology Investment Advisory Council, including the Chairs of key agencies, to advise on the development of the second Annual Statement. Annual Statements are the mechanism the Government will use to guide, track and measure the impact of our investments in new energy technologies.
  • Expanding Australia’s international collaboration with trading partners.
  • Conducting a review of legislative or regulatory barriers to technology uptake as part of the second annual Low Emissions Technology Statement.
  • Completing the development of Australia’s Long Term Emissions Reduction Strategy before COP26.

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“The Government’s plan has three key focuses – lower emissions, lower costs and more jobs,” Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said.

“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.

“If these technologies achieve widespread deployment globally, they will significantly reduce emissions from energy, transport, agriculture and heavy industry. These sectors account for 90 per cent of global emissions and emit 45 billion tonnes each year.

“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 10 years.”

Energy Networks Australia (ENA) has welcomed the recognition of hydrogen and batteries as key parts of the clean energy transition in the Commonwealth Government’s Technology Roadmap.

ENA CEO, Andrew Dillon, said the appointment of Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG) CEO Ben Wilson to the ministerial reference group showed the clear role renewable gases would play in our energy future.

“This is not about one technology or another, it’s about the right mix to achieve our goals of clean, reliable and affordable energy for Australia,” Mr Dillon said.

“Household, distribution and transmission level batteries will play their part along with renewable gases like hydrogen.

“To maximise the value we get from batteries, we need to also improve pricing signals to encourage smart technologies such as household batteries and electric vehicles to charge and discharge when it’s best for everyone. Examples of this are already in practice by SA Power Networks, Western Power and Horizon Power.”

Mr Dillon said the goal of producing hydrogen for $2 per kg should also be coupled with targets for blending hydrogen in our distribution networks.

“Our customers prefer using gas for cooking and heating, but they want to see emissions reductions,” he said.

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“Networks like those owned by AGIG, Jemena and ATCO are already trialling the blending of hydrogen for use in homes and businesses.

“The development of a domestic hydrogen market is an essential step towards getting the price of production down and supporting a viable export market.”

An update to the energy industry’s Gas Vision 2050 is expected to be released later this week. A collaboration of gas industry associations, this report models the role of gas and renewable gases like hydrogen in future domestic and industrial scenarios.

The Clean Energy Council welcomed the prioritising of clean hydrogen, energy storage and green steel in the Low Emissions Technology Statement, but said not prioritising the better use of Australia’s wind and solar resources was a missed opportunity.

“While wind and solar are now proven technologies and attracting enormous investor support, they are also the technologies that can have the greatest impact in decarbonising Australia’s energy system and economy,” Clean Energy Council CEO Kane Thornton said.

“It is therefore surprising and disappointing that the roadmap fails to address the range of barriers to their accelerated deployment.”

The Low Emissions Technology Statement is available on the Technology Investment Roadmap website.