PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The federal government has announced a number of investments into low emissions technologies and reduced emissions during is 2021/22 Budget.
Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said the Budget supported the government’s responsible and pragmatic approach to energy policy and emissions reduction, setting Australia up for a prosperous future as its economy continued rebuilding from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Our 2021/22 Budget measures will provide reliable, secure and affordable energy to all Australians, and increase investment in technology solutions to reduce emissions in a way that supports jobs and economic growth,” said Taylor.
“These initiatives will secure Australia’s recovery while also bolstering our position as a leader in the development of low emissions technologies, which are vital to achieving net zero emissions globally.
“Australia is focused on investing in commercialising technologies, not harmful taxes, in the global effort to reduce emissions. Our 2021/22 Budget measures continue this approach, while strengthening our energy security and supporting the growth of new industries and jobs into the future.”
Initiatives in the 2021/22 Budget include a A$24.9-million package to assist new gas generators become hydrogen-ready, and up to A$76.9-million to secure the Portland aluminium smelter’s participation in the Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader scheme, and help Victoria keep the lights on at times of peak demand.
Up to A$19.3-million will also be invested to support the deployment of a renewable energy microgrid incorporating hydrogen in the Daintree in Northern Queensland. The project will improve the affordability, reliability and security of energy supply in the region and reduce emissions.
Building on the federal support announced in last year’s Budget, the government’s latest initiatives to drive Australia’s gas-fired recovery also included up to A$38.7-million in investment to support critical gas infrastructure projects to alleviate the forecast gas supply shortfalls, and a A$5.6-million investment to further strengthen the government’s gas system planning framework through delivery of the National Gas Infrastructure Plan.
A further A$6.2-million will be invested to design, consult and implement reforms to accelerate the development of the Wallumbilla Gas Supply Hub, while A$4.6-million will go to develop initiatives that empower gas-reliant businesses to negotiate competitive outcomes in their gas supply agreements, and A$3.5-million will support the design and implementation of a framework to facilitate Commonwealth support for medium to long-term gas infrastructure to secure Australia’s future gas supply.
A number of new initiatives in the Budget would also support investment in new and emerging low-emissions technologies prioritised under the government’s Technology Investment Roadmap, collaborate internationally on achieving technology breakthroughs, lower energy costs and create more than 6 000 jobs.
This investment will include A$1.2-billion to establish Australia at the forefront of low emissions technology innovation and commercialisation, including A$639-million to back low emissions international technology partnerships and initiatives by co-funding research and demonstration projects and developing a high-integrity carbon offset scheme in the Indo-Pacific region, A$275.5-million to accelerate the development of four additional clean hydrogen export hubs, increasing the government’s commitment to building an Australian hydrogen industry to more than A$850-million, and A$263.7-million to support the development of carbon capture technologies and hubs, building on the A$50-million provided in the 2020/21 Budget.
Furthermore, A$279.9-million will be invested to establish the below baseline crediting mechanism recommended by the King Review, which will support large industrial facilities to reduce energy consumption and emissions while improving productivity and international competitiveness, while the government will also establish a A$50-million venture capital financing function within the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to support Australian clean tech innovation.
“This Budget builds on the government’s existing initiatives to guarantee reliable and affordable energy, stimulate jobs and reduce emissions without imposing new costs on households, businesses or the economy,” Taylor said.
“Our investments in emissions reduction, energy, gas and fuel security will create more than 9 000 jobs across the country, grow our economy and ensure Australia continues to meet and beat our emissions reduction targets.”
The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (Appea) has welcomed the focus on hydrogen development, saying that natural gas was a pathway to a large-scale hydrogen industry and that its members were already at the forefront of hydrogen development and carbon capture and storage solutions and the announcement of A$1.2-billion over 10 years in a technology co-investment facility would help accelerate development.
“Our industry works both in Australia and around the world to accelerate the development of low-emissions technologies. Natural gas plays a vital role in reducing Australia’s and Asia’s emissions,” said Appea CEO Andrew McConville.
The Queensland Resources Council has also welcomed the hydrogen investment, with CEO Ian Macfarlane saying the resources sector was committed to meeting the challenges of climate change and reducing emissions, including through low-emission technologies, and funding on this scale would drive new investment into this crucial area.
“The resources sector is the nation’s economic engine room and, as this budget demonstrates, has kept producing, earning and employing throughout the Covid-19 pandemic which has benefited all Australians,” he said.
“While we’re fortunate global demand for commodities such as coal and gas is increasing, we’re also at a critical time in Australia’s history where emissions targets need to be met, so we welcome the pragmatic initiatives in this Budget to help make this transition possible.”