PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Australian government has announced a A$1.9-billion investment package into future technologies to lower emissions, support job creation and strengthen the economy.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday announced supporting the next generation of energy technologies with an extra A$1.62-billion for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to invest, as well as expanding the focus of ARENA and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to back new technologies that will cut emissions in agriculture, manufacturing, industry and transport.
“Our JobMaker plan is about protecting and creating the jobs of today and positioning Australia for the jobs of the future, which is why our investment in new technologies is so crucial,” the Prime Minister said.
“Australia is in the midst of a world-leading boom in renewable energy with over A$30-billion invested since 2017. Solar panels and wind farms are now clearly commercially viable and have graduated from the need for government subsidies and the market has stepped up to invest.
“The government will now focus its efforts on the next challenge: unlocking new technologies across the economy to help drive down costs, create jobs, improve reliability and reduce emissions. This will support our traditional industries – manufacturing, agriculture, transport – while positioning our economy for the future.” Morrison said.
“These investments create jobs and they bring new technologies into play. This will not only cut emissions, but deliver the reliable energy Australia needs while driving down prices for homes and businesses.”
The funding would go towards a new A$95.4-million technology co-investment fund, a A$50-million investment in the carbon capture use and storage (CCUS) development fund, and a new A$74.5-million future fuels fund, which would help business and regional communities take advantage of opportunities offered by hydrogen, electric, and bio-fueled vehicles.
The government would also spend A$17.2-million to establish hydrogen export to scale-up demand and take advantage of this energy source.
Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said getting the next generation of energy technologies right would not only help to keep prices low and the lights on, but would importantly grow jobs, strengthen the economy and reduce emissions.
“We will reduce the cost of new and emerging technologies, not raise the cost of existing technologies or layer in new costs to consumers and businesses through mandated targets or subsidies,” Taylor said.
“The government recognises the strong growth in emerging energy technologies that will play a role in Australia’s energy mix into the future. We need to get the balance right and our investment to re-energise ARENA will deliver that.”
The Minerals Council of Australia has welcomed the investment into new low-emissions technologies as a positive step, with CEO Tania Constable saying the global transition to low emissions technologies, including solar, wind, hydrogen, batteries, gas and advanced coal with CCUS and nuclear depends on the metals and raw materials provided by the minerals sector.
“This provides great opportunities for minerals such as lithium, cobalt and copper in all forms of transport infrastructure, communications and energy systems.
“As Australia seeks to reach net zero emissions, demonstrating technologies such as Glencore’s carbon transport and storage company project in Queensland will be critical. Australia’s minerals industry strongly supports a policy framework where all low emission technologies are able to compete on a level playing field.
“This approach will encourage technology-driven and high abatement opportunities, especially in sectors where emissions reduction is more challenging,” Constable said.