Australian resources companies are already developing and trialing a number of technologies identified in the Technology Investment Roadmap and will play a critical role in mining the minerals required for a low-emissions future, says Minerals Council of Australia CEO Tania Constable.
Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor released the Morrison government’s first Low Emissions Technology Statement – the first under the Technology Investment Roadmap.
The statement outlines five priority technologies – clean hydrogen, energy storage, low-carbon materials, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and soil carbon measurement – and economic stretch goals to make new technologies as cost-effective as existing technologies. These are:
- Hydrogen production under $2/kg.
- Long duration energy storage (six to eight hours or more) dispatched at less than $100/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/t, low emissions aluminium under $2 700/t.
- CCS – carbon dioxide (CO₂) compression, hub transport, and storage under $20/t of CO₂.
- Soil carbon measurement under $3 per hectare each year – a 90% reduction from today’s measurement costs, transforming the economics of soil carbon projects for Australian farmers.
Constable points out that the resources sector is already producing low cost clean hydrogen from gasified coal with CCS, highlighting the Hydrogen Supply Chain project in Victoria that uses Latrobe Valley brown coal and CCS.
Glencore’s CTSCo project, at Millmerran power station in Queensland, is demonstrating the potential of CCS to reduce emissions from coal power stations, which still provides the bulk of Australia’s electricity.
Further, remote mining sites around the country are increasingly moving to hybrid energy systems incorporating renewables and storage along with existing diesel generation, while increased electrification of mines is being accompanied by lower emission energy sources and large-scale electric vehicles.
Australia’s iron-ore and bauxite miners are also working with global steel and aluminium producers and technology companies to deliver technologies that will produce lower carbon steel and aluminium.
Constable says the inclusion of small modular reactors on the roadmap’s watching brief list is commendable, given the emergence of this leading-edge nuclear technology in North America and Europe in readiness for commercial deployment in the next decade. Australia’s uranium producers already contribute to lower emissions by supplying fuel for global nuclear power generation.
“Continued recognition of energy technologies like coal, gas, solar and wind shows the government will let the market determine which technologies should be supported by investment, except in the case of a shortage in power generation or to secure jobs in key industries. This is a welcome development,” she adds.
Adoption of the best available technology will help Australia play its part in rapidly reducing emissions, while providing energy security so key industries such as mining and minerals processing remain internationally competitive and provide new highly skilled, highly paid jobs in regional Australia.
“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,” says Taylor.
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.