PERTH (miningweekly.com) – A new report developed by the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (Appea) and supported by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has hypothesised that Net Zero Zones could be created across Australia to boost climate action, jobs and investment.
The report identified nine potential zones, based around existing resources, industrial and manufacturing regions, could be established with shared infrastructure for natural gas, renewables, carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) technology and low-carbon hydrogen production.
The creation of Net Zero Zones based around the four net zero building blocks and shared infrastructure, could provide a range of benefits to support the fair and efficient transformation of the economy to net zero, including reducing the costs and timelines for reaching net zero, powering regional manufacturing and industry, creating and protecting regional jobs, underpinning net zero critical mineral production and processing, leveraging existing infrastructure, and creating a magnet for regional net zero investment.
Net Zero Zones could also provide focal points for streamlined government approvals and environmental permitting, and establish the foundation for net zero and industrial exports and imports.
The report found that the zones could cover 79% of the 215 facilities captured by the federal government’s Safeguard Mechanism and 92% of their greenhouse gas emissions.
Possible zones could be located in Adelaide-Port Augusta and the Cooper basin in South Australia, Perth and the Pilbara in Western Australia, Melbourne-Gippsland in southern Victoria, Sydney-Newcastle in New South Wales, Brisbane and the Surat basin as well as Central Queensland, and the planned Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct near Darwin.
Appea said on Monday that it will use the review’s analysis as a foundation for discussions and engagement with governments, industry and stakeholders across the regions.
“Net Zero Zones could help Australia accelerate to net zero and seize the economic opportunities of the energy transformation,” CEO Samantha McCulloch said.
“In a way, it’s like carpooling carbon emissions by working together to help achieve net zero in the fastest and most cost-efficient way for the economy.
“The zones could become magnets for regional investment and provide a framework for different industries to work together to speed up the path to net zero; reduce costs; create and protect jobs in manufacturing, mineral processing and industry; leverage existing infrastructure; provide a focal point for streamlined government approvals; and provide the foundation for net zero energy and industrial exports and imports.
“These zones would involve collaboration across different industries. It is about thinking wholistically about emissions reductions in these regions.
“Analysis confirms the important role of the gas industry and what it can contribute to the net zero challenge, cleaner energy and back up for renewable electricity while our infrastructure and expertise can help deliver step-change technologies such as CCUS and low-carbon hydrogen production.
“Leveraging existing infrastructure can ensure regions that powered the Australian economy to where it is today won’t be left behind as we restructure our economy for the future.
“The report highlights that equipping these nine regions with natural gas supply, firmed renewable energy, carbon dioxide transport and storage infrastructure, and low-carbon hydrogen would provide the building blocks necessary to reach net zero in the fastest, most cost-efficient way.”