Politicians are being urged to support the next attempt by Federal Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor to expand the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to encompass a raft of new energy technologies.
The expanded regulations would look to increase Australia’s decarbonisation efforts, create more jobs and expand Australia’s portfolio in renewable energy solutions.
The Federal Government pushed for an expansion of regulations for ARENA to allocate resources to support the implementation of technologies including alternative fuels, carbon capture, utilisation and storage, soil carbon and hydrogen production.
The first attempt by Mr Taylor was blocked by Labor and the Greens in addition to an abstention from voting by Pauline Hanson, tying the expansion attempt 15 votes across.
The Liberal Government criticised the ALP for prioritising taxing rather than technology to reduce emissions.
“By teaming up with the Greens to block ARENA’s ability to support the next generation of low emissions technologies, and being silent on Europe’s carbon border tax – Labor have shown they’re for taxes, not technology to reduce emissions” Mr Taylor said.
The Labor Party argued the expansion pushed ARENA away from developed renewable energies such as solar, wind and hydro.
“By teaming up with the Nationals to prevent a decent climate change policy for Australia, the Liberals are exposing Australian industry to the risk of carbon tariffs and by continuing their attack on ARENA they are showing their ongoing prejudice against renewables.” Shadow Energy Minister Chris Bowen said.
The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA)called for politicians on both sides to back the new regulations to “help the country reach net zero emissions”.
APPEA Chief Executive Andrew McConville said there was no reason the expansion of ARENA to include a broader range of emissions reduction technologies should not be supported.
“Climate change should not be used as a political weapon and politicians shouldn’t ‘pick winners’ when it comes to protecting the environment. Supporting these measures demonstrates support for practical steps to reduce emissions and help the environment,” Mr McConville said.
“All technology, including hydrogen and carbon capture and storage (CCS), should be on the table to help reduce emissions.
“Natural gas with CCS is a pathway to a large-scale clean hydrogen industry.
“Developing a local hydrogen industry could enable lower emissions both in Australia and internationally, reduce energy costs, deliver energy security, together with new employment and manufacturing opportunities.”
APPEA reinforced the position that Government investment had fast tracked renewables before and would create thousands of jobs from the proposed expansion.